How to Help Children Who Have Been Exposed to Violence: Using the Natural World

Posted by Care Courses

Nov 6, 2015 4:51:32 PM

Child care providers often wonder how to help children who have had exposure to violence. Whether it was witnessed at home, in the media, or anywhere else, violence can have a huge impact on a child’s development and can have lasting effects on their lives.

Young children are being exposed to violence on television, in movies, and in video games in a way that no other generation before has ever experienced. Through “real-time” coverage of wars and natural disasters, children see disturbing images in their living rooms practically as they are occurring. This may result in children feeling that the world is a continually dangerous place.

At Care Courses, we offer a course called Witnesses to Violence: Helping Children Cope in a Violent World, which discusses the effects of exposure to violence on a child and offers many different methods for helping children exposed to violence.

Today I will focus on how the natural world can help children heal and cope with whatever exposure to violence they may have had and how it can help children worth through fears of nature itself.

Rachel Carson once wrote, “There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrain of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”

To promote such healing and understanding we suggest:

  • Helping children develop a sense of seasons
    • Have children “adopt” and closely watch over a tree to learn about the natural cycles of life
  • Helping children develop a sense of themselves as nurturers
    • Help children focus negative energy on positive activities like caring for flowers or a garden, or catching and releasing safe insects
  • Helping children develop a sense of connection to something timeless and larger than themselves
    • Helpful activities include looking at pictures of the places “our” birds go in the winter and creating and working with compost to help them understand how interconnected life on our planet really is

Young children need caring adults to support and sustain their entrance into the natural world – adults who will walk with them, encourage them, and explore with them. Children need adults who understand that interacting with nature reduces stress, increases attention span, and fosters brain development. This will allow children affected by hurt, anxiety, or sadness to find healing and hope in the “repeated refrain of nature.”

Overall, in our Care Course, Witnesses to Violence: Helping Children Cope in a Violent World, we go over a variety of ways to support children exposed to many types of violence. We’ve touched on just a few of them in this blog. Want to learn more? Find this course on our website.

Please let us know how we can be of additional assistance! Call us: 1-800-685-7610, Monday through Friday, 9-5 ET, or email us days, evenings and weekends: info@CareCourses.com. We’re here to help!

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Tips for Supporting Children throughout Military Deployment

Posted by Care Courses

Oct 23, 2015 3:14:44 PM

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Military deployment is a challenging time for all family members, especially for young children. Child care providers have many unique opportunities to have a significant and positive impact on military children throughout their parent’s deployment cycle and often wonder what they can do. That is why Care Courses offers Early Childhood Stress: Serious Stress in Children’s Lives, a training course on the effects of serious stress on children and strategies for helping children cope with stress and fear.

As caregivers, teachers, and parents, it is our duty to work hard to make sure our children’s needs are met during deployment (and during any time of stress.)

Here are some of children’s most important needs with some suggested actions for caregivers:

  1. Consistency and Routine:
    Children often feel anxious and out of control when they do not know what to expect. Providing schedules, routines, and predictability can help children deal with all stress:
    • Help children by reviewing daily schedules in the morning.
    • Develop a picture schedule so children can visualize what’s next.
  2. Communication:
    Children often have many questions, sometimes unspoken, about the changes in their lives. Be prepared to have an age-appropriate conversation about facts and feelings:
    • Be honest and relevant and don’t make up answers: try to find them out!
    • Discuss issues and conversations with the parent or guardian at home.
    • Have two clocks in the room - one on local and one the deployed location time.
  3. Emotional Outlets:
    Children need opportunities to express and receive love. Opportunities to act out difficult feelings and emotions are essential for emotional wellbeing:
    • Allow children to express themselves without talking through activities such as journaling, art, or dramatic play.
    • Offer meaningful praise for children’s efforts: be specific and acknowledge the child’s efforts and feelings.

Caregivers who understand the deployment experience and strive to meet children’s unique needs at this time help children and families meet the challenges of deployment head on. With constant positive support, children are able to learn valuable skills during deployment including independence, resilience, compassion and increased appreciation for family commitment.

Overall, our Care Course, Early Childhood Stress: Serious Stress in Children’s Live, describes how stress and fear can affect children and how caregivers can help children cope with their stress. We’ve touched on stress surrounding military deployment in this blog. Want to learn more? Find this course and our other course on childhood stress, Stress and Daycare, on our website!

Please let us know how we can be of additional assistance! Call us: 1-800-685-7610, Monday through Friday, 9-5 ET, or email us days, evenings and weekends: info@CareCourses.com. We’re here to help!

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How can I help children handle a change in routine?

Posted by Care Courses

Oct 16, 2015 2:33:00 PM

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Changes in the daily routine are inevitable. As adults, we’re prepared for changes in our routines and are able to navigate them relatively smoothly. Despite accepting that these things do happen, it can still cause anxiety or frustration as we try to adjust.

For children, even the slightest change to their daily routine can have drastic effects on their mood and ability to navigate their day. As child care providers, it’s often up to you to help the children in your care handle any changes that their daily routines may experience and to help them do so with minimal upset or frustration.

To help you understand the importance of a child’s daily routine while in care, Care Courses offers Creating Schedules and Routines. One of the many interesting components to the course is a section discussing changes in routines and how to help children adjust to them, which is what we’ll be discussing today.

A change in routine should not immediately prevent a problem as long as child care providers:

  • Have a good understanding of individual children’s needs and abilities to handle change.
  • Limit the number of changes that are introduced at any one time.
  • Prepare children for changes before changes occur. This is also an excellent opportunity to include parents as an additional layer of support for the child.

Even though all young children benefit from a consistent and predictable daily routine, there are some children who are more adaptable by nature. Children who are not as adaptable need exposure to new experiences, but do their best when faced with one small change at a time. Repeated exposure to the same new situation, without pressure to adapt, is usually the best way to approach this. While exposing the child to the new situation, talk with the child and discuss similarities between the old routine and the new routine to help them adjust to the change.  

Another way to help children adapt to various changes in routine is to create a schedule that is easily followed and kept to. To find out more about the importance of scheduling your day and to find out more about keeping to a specific routine, check out Creating Schedules and Routines on our website.

Please let us know how we can be of additional assistance! Call us: 1-800-685-7610, Monday through Friday, 9-5 ET, or email us days, evenings and weekends: info@CareCourses.com. We’re here to help!

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10 Ways to Deal with Biting in Child Care

Posted by Care Courses

Oct 8, 2015 11:22:12 AM

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Child care providers often wonder how to deal with children who bite one another. At Care Courses, we understand that biting can be a challenging subject in all different child care settings. We offer Biting Hurts, a training course that covers the reasons why young children bite, strategies to prevent biting, appropriate ways to intervene in biting incidents, and how to talk to parents about biting.

In this blog we will focus on how caregivers and teachers can respond to biting when it occurs.

When a child is bitten:

  1. Give attention and comfort first to the child who has been bitten. Model empathy for the victim and avoid rewarding the biter with immediate adult attention. Biters ages two and older can assist in comforting the victim.
  2. Never indicate – by words, body, language, or other actions – that you think the biting is funny or a game.
  3. Calmly remove the biter. Emotional responses reinforce biting behavior.
  4. Never bite a child back (or have another child do so) either as a punishment or to show how it feels.
  5. State simply, firmly, and calmly, “No! Biting hurts,” and avoid lectures.
  6. Never emotionally abandon the biter by withholding love or comfort. Causing a child to feel rejected or scorned does nothing to teach appropriate behavior. Express disapproval of biting, not the child.
  7. Never respond to the biter with physical or verbal aggression. Model respectful, appropriate language and behavior at all times. Never behave toward children in ways that are not appropriate for them to imitate.
  8. Help children learn expressive communications skills. Model appropriate ways to interact with others, negotiate disagreements, and resolve conflict.
  9. Use specific positive language to teach children what they should do: “Touch gently. It hurts when you bite.” Rather than “Don’t bite.”
  10. Assure biters that you have confidence they will learn appropriate behaviors!

Finally, make sure you notify the parents of both the biter and the victim and tell them what you are doing to stay on top of it.

By following these steps you can help alleviate or shorten the biting “crisis.” However, sometimes nothing works and children either grow out of it or must leave the program. Suspension or termination from the program (while an awful consequence) is possible, so suggest parents make contingency plans if necessary.

Our Care Course, Biting Hurts, covers the reasons and methods for helping children who bite. We touched on some helpful methods for responding to biting in this blog. Want to learn more? Find this course on our website!

Please let us know how we can be of additional assistance! Call us: 1-800-685-7610, Monday through Friday, 9-5 ET, or email us days, evenings and weekends: info@CareCourses.com. We’re here to help!

 

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Tips for Improved Hand Washing

Posted by Care Courses

Oct 1, 2015 4:39:00 PM

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Everyone needs to wash their hands, especially caregivers who come in contact with children and the children themselves. Since we cannot avoid exposure to germs, we must do our best to prevent spreading diseases by washing our hands often and correctly.

Our Care Course Sanitation for Disease Prevention in Early Childhood Programs is written for all types of childcare facilities (including family homes) and discusses how to provide a clean, sanitary environment to protect children's health and the health of the child care providers.

Frequent and thorough hand washing can drastically reduce the spread of diseases between staff and children and can protect the younger children who have weaker, less developed immune systems.

Here are some tips for thorough hand washing for both you and the children:

  1. Wet hands under warm running water.
  2. Use liquid soap. Soap bars harbor bacteria.
  3. Lather both hands well and scrub them vigorously for at least 30 seconds.
  4. Scrub all parts of both hands. This includes thumbs, wrists, the areas between fingers, around cuticles, under fingernails, and the back of your hands.
  5. Rinse hands thoroughly under warm running water.
  6. Let water drain from wrists to fingers.
  7. Dry both hands with an automatic dryer or a new single-use towel.
  8. For hand-held faucets, turn off the water using a disposable towel instead of bare hands to avoid recontamination of clean hands.

Washcloth hand washing is acceptable for children under the age of two years and for children with special needs who are not capable of washing their own hands. Use a soapy washcloth and warm water. Use an individual washcloth and towel for each child, and use each washcloth and towel only one time between launderings.

Sometimes children resist hand washing – occasionally quite vigorously. However, hand washing is extremely important to insuring a child’s continued health and wellbeing and may not be negotiable.

A child care provider should approach hand wishing in a firm, but kind manner. You should never punish or threaten to punish a child who resists hand washing. Simply make it clear in a positive way that everyone’s hands must be washed at certain specified times, like after outdoor playtime, after toileting, etc.  Modeling good hand washing practices will also promote healthy life-long practices.

In Sanitation for Disease Prevention in Early Childhood Programs, we cover how to promote a healthy and clean environment for children in all childhood facilities. We’ve touched on healthy hand washing in this blog. Do you want to learn more? Find this course on our website.

Please let us know how we can be of additional assistance! Call us: 1-800-685-7610, Monday through Friday, 9-5 ET, or email us days, evenings and weekends: info@CareCourses.com. We’re here to help!

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Fun Activities for Toddlers

Posted by Care Courses

Sep 25, 2015 1:53:11 PM

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When caring for toddlers, many wonder what types of activities are not only appropriate but engaging for the children in their care. At Care Courses we have many courses specifically about caring for toddlers and the various activities to cater to their specific developmental needs.

Today we are going to focus on some ideas from our course, Day by Day with Toddlers.

Play dough is a wonderful teaching tool for toddlers. Children start by poking and pinching the claylike substance and eventually start to try and mold it into various shapes. For an even more exciting and hands-on lesson, you can make your own homemade play dough with the following recipe:

You Will Need

  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup salt
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • Food coloring or dry tempera (optional)

Steps

  1. Mix ingredients together
  2. Cook for three minutes stirring constantly in a nonstick saucepan
  3. Oil your hands and knead until smooth
  4. Store the play dough in a zip-lock plastic bag in the refrigerator – the dough will keep indefinitely

Toddlers also need a variety of movement activities to develop large motor control, muscle strength, motor planning, and coordination. Talk to toddlers as they practice the following motor activities:

  • Crawling
  • Cruising and Walking
  • Riding
  • Dancing
  • Rocking
  • Climbing
  • Jumping
  • Rolling, Throwing, and Kicking

In our course, Day by Day with Toddlers, we discuss many different activities for toddlers and why they are important.

Want to learn more? Visit the course information page on our website.

Please let us know how we can be of additional assistance! Call us: 1-800-685-7610, Monday through Friday, 9-5 ET, or email us days, evenings and weekends: info@CareCourses.com. We’re here to help!

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How can I support a multicultural learning environment in my daycare?

Posted by Care Courses

Sep 18, 2015 3:25:14 PM

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Many caregivers wonder how they can provide a culturally diverse learning environment for the children in their care. Care Courses offers several courses that focus on fostering a diverse learning environment. Today we are going to look at a few tips for fostering a culturally diverse educational program from our course Cultural Diversity in Early Childhood Programs.

The best thing about culturally diverse programs is that children are given exposure to different cultures from an early age. This also greatly benefits children who come from other countries in terms of language development and overall adjustment to our educational system. In the early childhood environment, teachers have an opportunity to make the most significant contributions to children whose families’ primary languages are not English, allowing them to become more prepared when they enter into primary school.

Here are some tips for fostering a positive learning environment for children whose families are not native English speakers:

  • Never try to administer a test or screening instrument in English to a child who speaks another language.
  • Involve parents in classroom activities. Non-English speaking parents can be very helpful while they learn English, too.
  • Learn to pronounce children’s names as closely as you can to how their parents say them. Your name is the most important acknowledgment of identity.

Remember that infants and toddlers are observant and inquisitive. They will notice differences among themselves and teachers. Be ready to seize those moments where the children notice similarities and differences in order to provide multicultural teaching in a positive manner. Fostering an environment where children can learn about each other’s varying backgrounds can help eliminate the fear or discomfort that some children may develop towards people who are very different from them. With the proper guidance, children are able to learn to rethink their assumptions and embrace the diversity amongst their peers.

In our course, Cultural Diversity in Childhood Programs, we discuss the benefits of embracing a multicultural education. Want to learn more? Find this course and others like it on our website.

Please let us know how we can be of additional assistance! Call us: 1-800-685-7610, Monday through Friday, 9-5 ET, or email us days, evenings and weekends: info@CareCourses.com. We’re here to help!
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How do I provide for a child diagnosed with ADHD?

Posted by Care Courses

Sep 11, 2015 4:22:58 PM

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Many caregivers wonder how to provide for a child diagnosed as having ADHD. At Care Courses we offer two courses that discuss ADHD in detail. In this blog, we will focus on tips discussed in the Care Course ADHD.

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is symptomatic of a disorder that scientists have classified as being the excessive degree to which some children are chronically overactive, impulsive, and inattentive.

The root cause of ADHD is unknown at this time but some believe ADHD is a neurobiological disorder caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain that results in abnormal brain function.

A caregiver must realize that each child is different in their strengths, feelings, and needs. Many of those needs are similar to a child not diagnosed with ADHD, but having ADHD may cause those needs to be exhibited to a higher degree. All children need acceptance, structure, and positive guidance. A child with ADHD often needs more acceptance, structure, and positive guidance.

Some treatments for ADHD are:

  • Conventional drugs such as Ritalin
  • Modified diets
  • Environmental changes (I.E. natural lighting)
  • Restrictive television exposure

Other tips to help provide for a child with ADHD may include:

  • Cooperating with parents; children can make better progress when the various adults in their lives work cooperatively toward the same goals for the child.
  • Being as flexible as possible. Extra effort on your part at the outset will make life easier for all concerned as the weeks go by.

In our course, ADHD, we discuss a variety of ways to identify ADHD and provide for a child who is diagnosed. Want to learn more? Visit the ADHD course information page on our website or the page dedicated to another Care Course that discusses ADHD, Active or Hyperactive?

Please let us know how we can be of additional assistance! Call us: 1-800-685-7610, Monday through Friday, 9-5 ET, or email us days, evenings and weekends: info@CareCourses.com. We’re here to help!

 

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How do Preschoolers Make Friends?

Posted by Care Courses

Sep 4, 2015 2:03:54 PM

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The social development of preschoolers is very important to parents and child care providers alike.  Caretakers want to make sure that their preschoolers develop socially and emotionally, learn to cooperate with adults and children, and make friends.

Fostering pro-social behavior in preschool is a key component to helping children become socially competent. In our Care Course Preschoolers in Child Care, we look at many different aspects of childhood development.

Today we’ll take a look at social and emotional development in preschool and how young children learn to make friends.

Preschoolers do a great deal of play learning, and so it isn’t surprising that they learn social skills through their play. Preschool-age children tend to take part in two types of play. In the early years of preschool, children tend to prefer nonsocial play. Though they are playing near or alongside other children, they do not interact. Social play develops in the later preschool years, though it does not replace nonsocial play. In all aspects of play, even independent and nonsocial play, is enhanced by the presence of other children. You can watch children move through the stages, learning and developing their social skills and friendships as they go.

As children develop, so too do their social skills.

As three-year-olds, children begin to see situations from another person’s point of view. Most Threes can play cooperatively, at least for short periods of time.

Friends only become more important by age four, when children are better able to take turns and share.

By the age of five, children have developed enough social competence to get along very well with friends. Five year olds are even more skilled in social interaction, and have a great need to make friends.

Childhood friends are an important part of the early childhood experience. Through these friends and playmates, preschoolers learn a great deal about themselves and the world around them. They learn to communicate and to cooperate, to resolve conflicts and to control their reactions.

In Preschoolers in Child Care you will learn more about the social development of preschoolers and how to develop prosocial behavior. You will find games, strategies, and communication tips to guide children along the social development process, and much more! If you are interested in this course, or in finding a similar Coursebook, you can find all of our Care Courses listed on our website.

Please let us know how we can be of additional assistance! Call us: 1-800-685-7610, Monday through Friday, 9-5 ET, or email us days, evenings and weekends: info@CareCourses.com. We’re here to help!

 

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How do I plan field trips for my day care program?

Posted by Care Courses

Aug 28, 2015 12:44:05 PM

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Child care providers often wonder how to plan a field trip for the children in their care. With careful trip planning, a supportive/educational setting, and a cooperative group spirit, field trips are an outstanding contribution to the children’s firsthand experience and education.

Our course, The Art of Child Care, is a wonderful Care Course on child development that talks about importance of childcare, ways to help children develop pro-social behaviors, ways to facilitating children’s social-emotional and intellectual growth, and ways to facilitate children's learning through field trips!

When planning a field trip, we know that it must be developmentally appropriate, meaningful to the children, and physically safe. While our hosts are usually eager to have children visit and have a great deal of expertise in their field, they are not usually early childhood educators (which can sometimes lead to a sub-par field trip and bored children.) When choosing a host, you must assist them in planning a trip that is engaging for the children, while still yielding to the expertise of the hosts.

Here are some tips for assisting and coaching your hosts before and during a field trip:

  • Prior to the trip, build a relationship with your host. Even a 15 minute face-to-face conversation is better than none. The more you know them, the better your field trip will be.
  • Ask them questions:

o   What does the host hope to accomplish from the visit? How can you help them? Do they need your assistance? Is it their first field trip? How can you help them relax? Can you visit the location without the children to do a walk-through together? Do they mind answering questions the children have beforehand? Questions will relieve stress and improve the experience for everyone.

  • When speaking with your host, give examples of the children’s play, explorations, and work through pictures and anecdotes so that they are familiar with what inspired this field trip and what the children might want to see.
  • Explore the location and suggest hands-on experiences. Find out what would be considered intrusive verses what would be acceptable.

Finally, be sure to present yourself as a willing participant who is there not only for the children but also to assist the host. After all, when a field trip is highly successful for everyone involved, there will be many return visits (and many happy children!)

In our Care Course, The Art of Childcare, we describe the impacts of child care and developmentally appropriate ways caregivers can help children grow and develop. We touched on just a few aspects of how to effectively plan and organize field trips in this blog. If you’re interested in learning more, you can find this course on our website!

Please let us know how we can be of additional assistance! Call us: 1-800-685-7610, Monday through Friday, 9-5 ET, or email us days, evenings and weekends: info@CareCourses.com. We’re here to help!

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About Care Courses

Care Courses has been providing distance learning courses for early childhood professionals for over 27 years. Our courses are delivered to you either via US Mail or on your computer, and can be used for the CDA and many state training requirements. We offer over 60 excellent, convenient courses in a wide variety of interesting, helpful topics, and our courses have no time limits. Do them wherever and whenever you wish. Visit our website to access our course listings.

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