Too Many Arguments Can Ruin Your Child’s Innocence

Childhood is full of innocence. But with this said, many parents argue in front of their children without thinking about the effect that it has on them. While occasional disagreements, teach kids that marriage isn’t perfect, constant fighting can be quite a traumatic experience. The psychological trauma that they endure when their parents have regular drawn out fights leaves a lasting impression. Consider the following steps to minimize the number of fights that you and your spouse have in front of your children.

  • Take a second to step back and collect your thoughts
    It is very easy to let a silly argument escalate. One minute you were talking about who would drive the kids to school and the next thing you know, you’re shouting about who has more responsibility at home. If you’re fighting about a trivial issue, most likely you should apologize, drop it, and move on. If you’re fighting about a more serious matter, stop yelling and have a proper discussion without shouting or making inaccurate generalizations (i.e. “you never help out around the house”).
  • Don’t be afraid to express your feelings
    Leaving negative feelings to fester can have a more harmful effect on your child, than an actual argument. It is unrealistic to expect people in any relationship to be in agreement all the time. However, when you don’t say how you feel, kids may be confused, leaving their imaginations to run wild. Model the type behavior that you would like your kids to exhibit. Avoid using insulting terms and physical aggression, and say how you’re feeling.
  • Use the opportunity to teach a lesson
    Disagreements are a natural part of life. Kids need to learn that having disputes doesn’t mean that you have to end relationships. Explain to your children that you and your spouse fight sometimes but that you always love each other and will work things out.

About Dorothy Hastings

Dorothy Hastings is the Director of First School, which are three Preschool and child care centers located throughout Southern California. First School provides a hands-on approach to preschool education and child care programs that emphasizes all around child development. In addition to their intuitive academic approach, First School also focuses on developing a child's social skills and self-confidence, which is made possible in their intimate learning atmosphere.

Know the Secrets to Make Your Child a Singing Pro

Have you ever wished your child could sing as flawlessly as your favorite singer? It’s possible for almost anyone with a voice to learn how to sing professionally. All you need to do is follow a step by step process while encouraging practicing as much as possible. If you seek to unlock your little one’s singing potential, the following vocal tips may help you:

  • Listen carefully to the singer’s voice.
    Become intimately familiar with your favorite singer’s voice through repeated listening. If the singer has an aggressive or dynamic vocal delivery, prepare your child to work harder at achieving that sound over a longer time frame so that they do not strain their vocal cords. Memorizing lyrics and melody then singing along with recordings is a great way to improve.
  • Figure out the musical key in which the vocalist is singing.
    Find out the key of a song by looking at sheet music. An even better way is to learn how to identify a key by ear. Vocal exercises, such as singing basic scales and memorizing sounds can help your little one a lot. Ask them to learn either to sing in the singer’s key or transpose the music to an easier key. Learning music theory can help accelerate the vocal development.
  • Breath control and relaxation while singing.
    Many novice singers do not sing correctly because they do not breathe properly when they sing. Ideally, one should breathe naturally and sing from diaphragm, not neck or nose. If any part of the body is tense, concentrate on relaxing. Singing should not feel forced. Laying on the back while singing can help in achieving the open throat necessary for proper singing. When your child sings standing up, ask them to do so with a good posture.

About Dorothy Hastings

Dorothy Hastings is the Director of First School, which are three preschool and Child Day Care centers located throughout Southern California. First School provides a hands-on approach to preschool education and child care programs that emphasizes all around child development. In addition to their intuitive academic approach, First School also focuses on developing a child's social skills and self-confidence, which is made possible in their intimate learning atmosphere.

6 Incredible Ways to Raise Confident Kids

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Confidence is a critical aspect of leading a healthy, productive life. It is a key to boost your kid’s confidence from childhood itself. Insult and injury are inevitable in life. However, children with high self confidence levels are more resilient and come through tougher times in life stronger than ever. The following details six simple ways that parents can build self confidence in kids.

  1. Practice what you preach
    Children who are surrounded by adults lacking self-confidence have a much harder time boosting their own self confidence. Make yourself a role model, to show the skills and attitudes that you want your kids to exhibit. For example, maybe a child is reluctant to try a new food because he’s not sure how it’ll taste. Eat some of the food first and offer specific comments about what you like about it.

  2. Teach good manners
    Kids build self-confidence by learning how to treat other people with respect. For example, when a child feels comfortable introducing himself to new people, he may have the confidence to join a sports team or scouting troop and attend the first practice or meeting. These skills are extremely vital in helping kids to go on and take leadership positions in such organizations in the future. An important aspect of this posture and eye contact, these can go a long way towards making a good first impression and building self-confidence as well. Model these behaviors when you interact with your child and with other kids and adults.

  3. Offer positive feedback
    When you praise kids every time they do something good, they learn to tune out the comments. On the flip side, it’s also not helpful to give kids false praise. If your daughter is not a strong basketball player, don’t tell her that she’s great at it. Conflicting remarks leave kids confused and unsure what they should and shouldn’t believe from adults. Choose your feedback with care, providing constructive criticism when needed. Even though your daughter isn’t the best player in her basketball team, maybe she had a great practice today where she worked hard and demonstrated that she’s a true team player. It is important to recognize these attributes, and help your child better cope with the real world.

  4. Set them up for success
    Pushing children into activities that are well beyond their means or simply aren’t things that they enjoy is always synonymous with disaster. There is nothing wrong with giving kids a challenge or encouraging them to try something new. However, you don’t want to put a child in a position where it’s inevitable that he or she will fail. Play to a child’s natural abilities and hard work. The success that your child has will fuel his or her confidence.

  5. Provide independence
    Help your kid in every way that you can, so that they don’t have to struggle or get upset or frustrated. Trying to intervene when a child doesn’t make it into the top reading group at school or isn’t invited to a neighborhood birthday party may seem like the right thing to do, but it doesn’t do your kid any favors. Children need to learn that failure is all right and that there is nothing wrong with feeling anxious, sad or angry sometimes. Overcoming obstacles on their own instead of having adults solve them all the time helps them learn to take risks.

  6. Encourage personal interests
    Expose kids to a wide range of activities to increase their chances of finding something that they’re good at. Take an interest in these pursuits yourself, for example, if your daughter can’t get enough of horses these days, help her look for horse books when you go to the library or attend a local horse show together.

    When a kid has a passion and can feel proud about his knowledge or skills with that particular interest, he is more likely to achieve success in other areas. Even if the interest is a little unusual, a strong knowledge base or impressive skill set may win over peers at school. For example, maybe if your son loves to draw and most of his classmates are into football, encourage him to draw pictures of football that the kids can talk about at school.

At First School, we would like to see how our parents and other caregivers are helping their kids boost for their morale. Please share your insight and experiences with us!

About Dorothy Hastings

Dorothy Hastings is the Director of First School, which are three preschool and child care centers located throughout Southern California. First School provides a hands-on approach to preschool education and child care programs that emphasizes all around child development. In addition to their intuitive academic approach, First School also focuses on developing a child's social skills and self-confidence, which is made possible in their intimate learning atmosphere.

7 Extracurricular Activities to Discover Your Kids’ Potential

Kids Activities

Extracurricular activities are a great way for young kids to develop social skills, learn more about something that they love and stay active. From gymnastics to art classes to sports, you are sure to find something will interest your little one.

  1. Gymnastics. Gymnastics teaches young children how to jump, balance and navigate physical obstacles using problem solving skills. It also promotes flexibility.
  2. Dance. Dance builds coordination, kinesthetic intelligence and confidence. Many children are very willing dancers and are happy to be silly and experiment with different types of dancing with little or no prompting.
  3. Sports. Sports keep children active and healthy while teaching them how to compete in a positive manner. Team sports teach children how to work toward a common goal as a group while individual sports (i.e. track, golf) teach children the importance of setting goals and beating personal records.
  4. Swimming. Swim classes are another great extracurricular for developing personal growth. From a very early age, children can become comfortable in the water and more aware of their own safety.
  5. Martial arts. Martial arts, including karate and tae kwon do, allow kids to train their minds, strengthen their bodies and learn discipline. It is a great way for children to build their personal respect and strength.
  6. Educational classes. Not many kids are excited about academic courses after school, especially during their summer vacations. However, for those who are passionate about academic subjects, such as writing and math, from an early age, the right classes can be motivating and challenging.
  7. Music and creative arts. Classes related to arts and crafts, music, and cooking promote imagination and creative thinking as well as problem solving. Learning how to make a bracelet, play a musical instrument, or cook a simple dish builds confidence and independence.

About Dorothy Hastings

Dorothy Hastings is the Director of First School, which are three preschool and child care centers located throughout Southern California. First School provides a hands-on approach to preschool education and Child Care Programs that emphasizes all around child development. In addition to their intuitive academic approach, First School also focuses on developing a child's social skills and self-confidence, which is made possible in their intimate learning atmosphere.

Preschool Children: Know Their Needs and Characteristics

Preschoolers are curious about everything that they see and hear. This is a great time for caregivers, both parents and teachers, to mold the children’s minds and encourage them to use their creativity and imagination. This is also an important time for adults to teach social skills to help them adapt to a new environment filled with other kids. The world is widening for preschool kids and it is important for parents and teachers to give them the encouragement and opportunity to explore their world and build relationships with others, apart from members of their family.

What do preschool kids need?
It is important for parents to know what their preschooler needs to prepare for kindergarten and the world outside their homes. When you enroll your little one to a preschool, you need to make sure that it has everything that will help in developing your child socially, intellectually and emotionally. Here are some of the things that preschoolers need to adjust in their new environment:

  • Encouragement from parents and teachers to explore and learn.
  • A clean and bright preschool environment that makes them feel comfortable the moment they step in.
  • A neat and tidy classroom that has every item in an appropriate place that will make it easy for the kids to find what they want.
  • Social interaction with large and small groups of other little kids.
  • Hands-on experience with toys and other items that teach them something new.
  • Toys and games that develop problem solving and manipulative play skills.
  • Equal balance of indoor activities and outdoor playtime.
  • Learning to develop their intellectual, cognitive and motor skills which will be required as they enter kindergarten.

Parents and other adults in preschool children’s lives need to encourage the little ones to be curious, think on their own and be creative.

What are the social characteristics of preschool kids?
At this age, kids do not have the ability to understand other people’s emotions or perceptions. They are in their own world and the world is seen only through their eyes alone. Yes, they are egocentric; however, the adults in their lives still have a major influence on them. They are beginning to show their independence and capabilities. At this age, they are also eager to meet and play with new kids but may not know how to approach them due to shyness or fear of rejection. There are preschoolers who prefer to play on their own, which is why parents and teachers need to encourage them to make an effort to play in a group with other kids of their age.

What are the intellectual characteristics of preschool kids?
Preschool children have a very concrete and literal thinking capacity. They do not think figuratively as older kids or adults do. They also do not have reasoning capabilities yet. At this age, kids love to explore and touch, feel, smell, taste, watch and wonder about everything around them. They also begin to show signs of taking initiative and creativity. Books, building blocks and little puzzles are a few of the things that fascinate preschoolers as they allow them to use their intellect to learn new things and improve the development of their fine motor skills.

What are the emotional characteristics of preschool kids?
Kids at this age display their emotions in ways that they only know how. Anger and quarreling is quite common with preschooler children. They do not recognize the concept of self-control which is why they often lash out at anyone who angers them. Other characteristics of kids of this age-group are jealousy and attention-seeking. They do not have the capability to express their feelings or emotions verbally which is why many tend to have tantrums at home and in the classroom.

Parents and other adult care-givers have many responsibilities towards preschoolers as this is the perfect time for them to teach them the skills necessary for them to develop emotionally, intellectually and socially. Preschool teachers need to include different activities that will help them especially when they move on to kindergarten. A mix of fun and educational activities is crucial at this point. Parents and preschool care-givers should work together to make sure that preschoolers develop at their own pace. Nurturing their strengths is also important. Let them explore and experiment and get to know the world around them!

About Dorothy Hastings

Dorothy Hastings is the Director of First School, which are three preschool and Child Day Care centers located throughout Southern California. First School provides a hands-on approach to preschool education and child care programs that emphasizes all around child development. In addition to their intuitive academic approach, First School also focuses on developing a child's social skills and self-confidence, which is made possible in their intimate learning atmosphere.

The Tooth Fairy: Mystery or Reality

Throughout human history, there have been legends about a mysterious fairy which takes children’s teeth in exchange for money. This creature is more commonly known as the Tooth Fairy, a creature that is just as beloved as Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. We as adults enjoy the joy our kids see, when they look under their pillow, and find money. It reminds us to cherish the memories of the tooth fairy, when we were a child.

Kids have always believed in the Tooth Fairy, just as they believe in Santa Claus and this is not necessarily a bad thing especially since she helps kids all over the world in coping with growth. In honor of this elusive and mythical creature, we hold a celebration on February 28th and another celebration in August.

Why is National Tooth Fairy Day celebrated?
The Tooth Fairy has been a part of children’s lives since ancient times. Did you know that even the hard edged Vikings had a tradition that is quite similar to today’s Tooth Fairy one? They too exchanged their children’s fallen teeth for money.

Although the legend of the Tooth Fairy is quite strange, it has been a part of our culture for so long that it is not a surprise that a special day has been given to celebrate her. The fact is that she will be a part of children’s lives for many more years to come, making them happy and a little mystified, by leaving a little money under their pillows for their teeth!

What makes the Tooth Fairy so real?
The Tooth Fairy will always be a beloved mysterious creature among kids. She gives children a sense of importance, by paying them for their teeth. Also it gives them a special feeling inside when they are given money for something that belonged to them. This is important because it gives them self-worth and also gives the child’s belongings self-worth.

Due to her long existence, she has almost become a real person instead of a fictional one. She has been a part of children’s lives for such a long time that parents and kids alike talk excitedly about how the Tooth Fairy will visit the little ones at night when they lose their teeth!

About Dorothy Hastings

Dorothy Hastings is the Director of First School, which are three preschool and Child Day Care centers located throughout Southern California. First School provides a hands-on approach to preschool education and child care programs that emphasizes all around child development. In addition to their intuitive academic approach, First School also focuses on developing a child's social skills and self-confidence, which is made possible in their intimate learning atmosphere.

Bad Poetry Day: When Cringing Verse Is Truly Appreciated

If there was ever a day when your poetic self would be appreciated for writing an ode to the indelicate belch last night or the very poisonous morning breath, it would be August 18 because it happens to be Bad Poetry Day. Bad Poetry day is all about reading and writing poetry that deviates from the conventional poetic topics of love, joy, sadness, admiration and veers more towards high school crushes, love for Mexican food or even the gastric distress Mexican food causes.

A special day
It is indeed a special day because for better or worse, poetry must be celebrated. The special day was first celebrated by Thomas and Ruth Roy, the creators of wellcat.com who decided, in an attempt to reunite high school friends, it would be fun to write really awful verses and send them to their old high school teachers.

Learning experience
While it may seem that kids, should stay away from catchy but inappropriate verses like those hailed on Bad Poetry Day but there is something to learn from it too. On Bad Poetry day, little kids can be asked to write about whatever they like in form of poems, and are encouraged that the crazier, the better. This will let the children to use their fullest creative faculties, in a fun.

Historical tradition
You may think Bad Poetry Day is the result of the modern mind obsessed with the odd and ridiculous, but sample this:

“All that doth flow we cannot liquid name
Or else would fire and water be the same;
But that is liquid which is moist and wet
Fire that property can never get.
Then ’tis not cold that doth the fire put out
But ’tis the wet that makes it die, no doubt.”

This poem, titled ‘What is liquid?’ seems to be the oldest ‘bad poem’ known to literature.

About Dorothy Hastings

Dorothy Hastings is the Director of First School, which are three preschool and Child Day Care centers located throughout Southern California. First School provides a hands-on approach to preschool education and child care programs that emphasizes all around child development. In addition to their intuitive academic approach, First School also focuses on developing a child's social skills and self-confidence, which is made possible in their intimate learning atmosphere.

Merry Kids: Fun Ways to Celebrate Bonza Bottler Day

Bonza Bottler Day is celebrated every month on the day when the number of the month matches the number of the day (i.e. January 1, March 3, June 5 and so on).

The idea to celebrate this occurrence came from the mind of Elaine Fremont who established the first Bonza Bottler Day in 1985. Elaine Fremont established this day because she realized that August was the only month that didn’t have a celebration.

What Does “Bonza Bottler Day” Mean?
Bonza is a word that the Australians use to mean awesome or super when something incredible happens. Although Bonza Bottler Day originated in America, during the past few decades, Bonza Bottler has become a worldwide sensation.

Interesting Ways to Celebrate With Kids:

  • Surprise, Surprise! : Start Bonza Bottler Day with a little surprise for your kids. At home, consider tying bunches of balloons to their bedposts or preparing their favorite breakfast on that day. At school, have little treats waiting on your students’ desks or bring in a surprise visitor.
  • Treat ‘em Fave Foods: Bonza Bottler is the perfect excuse to have a little party for no particular reason. Decide what type of food you would like to have and when you would like to enjoy it. Maybe your kids would like to have a special breakfast or maybe they would like to bake cookies together and enjoy them with milk after lunch. Think about making decorations to complete the party.
  • Bonza Fun Ideas: Also, Bonza Bottler is also a great excuse to enjoy something out of the ordinary. For example, it might be fun to watch a movie in your pajamas in the middle of the day. Another fun idea is to make a big fort in the living room or the backyard.
  • Make Learning Exciting: For teachers, it is not hard to find ways to incorporate Bonza Bottler into a current curriculum. For example, if you’re in the middle of an animal unit during this month’s Bonza Bottler day, you can schedule a field trip to a zoo or farm or have an animal shelter employee bring animals to the school.

About Dorothy Hastings

Dorothy Hastings is the Director of First School, which are three preschool and child care centers located throughout Southern California. First School provides a hands-on approach to preschool education and Child Care programs that emphasizes all around child development. In addition to their intuitive academic approach, First School also focuses on developing a child's social skills and self-confidence, which is made possible in their intimate learning atmosphere.

When Your Toddlers Can’t Resist Lying

Toddler-aged children work hard to learn about the world around them. They are still getting to know themselves and figuring out how they fit into their world. During this time, it is not unusual for young children to experiment with different personalities to see what feels comfortable for them. Throughout this process, many toddlers lie on a regular basis which can become a concern for parents.

There are many reasons that toddlers tell lies including the following:

  • Toddlers want to please adults. If a child spills juice at school or hits his brother while arguing at home, he may tell his teacher or mom that he did not do it because he does not want that individual to be angry with him. Toddlers do not realize that adults still know who is responsible for their actions even when they lie about them.
  • Toddlers cannot always differentiate between reality versus fantasy. Toddlers are not always sure what is real and what is not and easily confuse what happened with what they wish would have happened in a situation. This means that sometimes they tell lies not necessarily to deceive but to meet another need, such as getting people to like them or getting their parents to buy them a new toy.

Punishing toddlers for lying is not an appropriate response as it doesn’t teach them how to change their behaviors. You can punish them for their behaviors i.e. hitting their siblings, telling someone to shut up but not their lies. They need to learn a sense of truth and to know that you will love them despite their flaws and the mistakes that they make. The following actions will help your toddler to stop lying:

  • Call children out on their actions. For example, if your little girl drew on the walls, you can say, “I know that you drew these pictures because I see marker on your hands.” People continue to do what works for them. If a child has learned that he gets special attention when he is naughty, you must create consequences to stop this behavior.
  • Avoid using the word liar. When you label a child a liar, you run the risk of that label and consequently that mode of behavior becoming identification for your child. You don’t want your child to have to live with this label for years to come.
  • Stay calm. It is easy to lose your temper and yell or use harsh words when you are upset that your toddler lied. Approach the situation as calmly as possible. If you yell, your child is likely to yell back and the issue can escalate quickly. Remaining calm also establishes a precedent for addressing these type of situations that makes children more likely to tell the truth in the future.
  • Do not give children the option to say no. If you say, “Did you spill juice on the sofa?” the kid has the option to say no. Instead say, “I saw you spill your juice on purpose after I’d asked you to sit at the table and drink it. Now you need to go to your room for five minutes.
  • Be patient but consistent. You have to address lying all the time to get the message across to your toddler. There are times that it may be easy to let it slide such as while you’re in public or while you have company but it just creates more confusion. Address all lies in all situations, no matter where you are and no matter how big or small the lie.
  • Find a happy medium. Kids lie when they live in a highly permissive or highly restrictive environment. It is critical to find a middle ground in which kids have an appropriate level of freedom. Look for ways to give your young child freedom, such as choosing her own clothes for school or letting her color independently at the kitchen table while you make dinner.
  • Practice what you preach. In order for toddlers to understand the importance of telling the truth, they must see you tell the truth. If you lie on a regular basis, even if it’s just little white lies, they will not understand.

It is important to keep in mind that lying is a normal behavior during the toddler years. With the proper guidance, most toddlers grow out of it. When children learn that they are still loved, accepted and honored even though they are not perfect, they are much less likely to lie.

About Dorothy Hastings

Dorothy Hastings is the Director of First School, which are three Preschool and child care centers located throughout Southern California. First School provides a hands-on approach to preschool education and child care programs that emphasizes all around child development. In addition to their intuitive academic approach, First School also focuses on developing a child's social skills and self-confidence, which is made possible in their intimate learning atmosphere.

Homework Can No Longer Be Nightmare for Children

In some households it can be hard to motivate your children to get their homework completed accurately and in a timely manner. Whether your child is having a hard time concentrating or the subject matter is rather difficult, homework can turn out to be a nightly nightmare.

Here are tips to make homework less of a hassle for both the child and parent:

  • Understand the importance of homework, and stress that importance to your children. Homework is not assigned by teachers as a punishment; it is a learning tool and helps your child develop self-discipline and academic skills outside of the structured classroom.
  • Make sure the area where your child does their homework is well-lit, quiet, and conducive to studying and academic pursuits. Remove distractions like video games and the television, so your child can focus on the task at hand.
  • Ask your child about their homework and show a true interest in their educational pursuits. If you are interested, your child is more likely to be interested.
  • Discuss any potential problem areas with your child and work with them to find ways to make those areas easier to conquer.
  • Review completed assignments with your child but do not give them the answers. Point your child in the right direction for finding solutions to problems or answers to questions.
  • Make learning fun! You can create your own “homework” assignments for your child to complete that make it more of an entertaining challenge, giving them a goal to look forward to rather than more work.

About Dorothy Hastings

Dorothy Hastings is the Director of First School, which are three preschool and Child Day Care centers located throughout Southern California. First School provides a hands-on approach to preschool education and child care programs that emphasizes all around child development. In addition to their intuitive academic approach, First School also focuses on developing a child's social skills and self-confidence, which is made possible in their intimate learning atmosphere.