Empathy is the ability to understand the world from another person’s point of view. Empathy can also create motivation to treat another kindly based on that understanding.
Feelings Flashcards: Make flash cards with a photo or drawing showing different emotions such as happy and sad or scared and mad. Even three and four year olds can identify a range of emotions. Point out the different feelings and talk about them.
Share stories and personal experiences: share stories about times when you had similar feelings and let the children share back.
Puppets: Children are drawn to puppets and many lessons can be taught by them. Have puppets display different emotions and talk with children about them.
Share how you have seen empathy impact children’s relationships and friendships.
bullying, education, friendship, positive parenting, social-emotional
Children with special needs should be offered opportunities to create friendships. Some children will make friends very easily while others may need a little help from adults. Here are a couple of ideas on how to create peer interactions for children with special needs.
- Encourage and arrange play dates
- Organize the area in which the children will play
- Have more than one of the same toy so children can play with the same toy, imitating and mimicking each other
- Join in and play to keep interactions going
- Never force friendships between children of any age or ability
“Friendship among typically developing children and children with special needs is not only possible but beneficial. With support and encouragement from adults, young children with and without disabilities can form connections that not only provide enjoyment but help promote their growth and development in multiple domains”. (eXtension.edu, 2011)
We would love to know your ideas on how to encourage friendships for children with special needs.
For more information on friendships and children with special needs click on the link below.
Peer Support for Children with Special Needs
Aspergers, education, friendship, positive parenting, social-emotional, special needs
BFF – do you have one? I see kids of all ages using this notation. And at the time they really are sure it’s true. I had a best friend all through my grade school years. Then in high school we quickly drifted apart and I found new groups of friends. Some stayed with me through college. Three are still a part of my life. As an adult I’ve accumulated many more friends. Some I consider BFFs.
The point is – friends move in and out of our lives. Sometimes as parents we get upset over the friends our children choose. But unless something dangerous is going on, trust your child’s choice in friends. Your son or daughter will pick friends who have shared interests – for example sports or music. Maybe they will be in a club together. Then as interests change, the friends may change too.
As a parent it’s hard to watch this friendship dance. But if you are patient, most of the time the kids will handle things on their own. They learn the “give and take” of friendship and how to work out problems.
One thing you can do is encourage a wide network of friends and provide opportunities for kids to be together. Then stand back and watch the magic of BFFs unfold.
Does anyone want to share a friendship story?
As I read the information on friendships I thought about writing about children – because that’s what the blog is about right? But the last part of the podcast really struck me. Where do children learn about friendships? From the adults role-modeling around them. My children are learning about friends from me and I learned from my parents.
So I spent that last several days listening and watching what my children see me say and do around and with my friends. Then I spent some time watching my children with their friends. Yep, sure enough it looked similar.
I want to repeat the 3 bullets from the podcast -
- provide emotional support
- teach acceptable behavior
- teach important attitudes
So I sit here pondering are there things I want my children to learn about friends from their friends? Are their things I want my children to learn about friends from me? Yes and YES. And I want the strongest most important lessons to come from me! So it will be up to me to model about friends to them. Hmmmm Why do these blogs always turn into something I need to do?
Share your thoughts with me on how you have modeled about friendships to your children.
education, family time, friendship, positive parenting, social-emotional, temperament
Parents want their children to have friends, but childhood friendships can be puzzling. One day a child is part of the “in group” and the next day he or she is on the outside. What’s a parent to do?
The good news is that parents can help children develop the skills they need to make and keep friends. Join us this month as we navigate through the world of children’s friendships.
Listen to a brief podcast on Children and Friendship:
Podcast: Play in new window
education, family time, friendship, podcast, positive parenting, raising teens, social-emotional
This month we are focusing on how to get the school year started right!
The short podcast gives a few ideas on homework and we are having an evening webinar on Monday the 10th of September to add more ideas to create success! Listen to the podcast and join us on the 10th!
Lori and Donna
Podcast: Play in new window
education, homework, podcast, positive parenting, raising teens, social-emotional
Boys and girls are different – well, that’s not news. But have you stopped to think about how boys and girls are different when it comes to sports. They have different attitudes about sports and they often feel differently about their physical development.
Let’s start with the attitudes. Boys really focus on their skills – how far they can throw a football, how hard they can hit a baseball, or how fast they can run. The boys work at constantly improving their skills to be a better player. Girls are people oriented. They want to be on the same team with their best friends. And girls don’t like being compared to others; they don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings.
Boys are proud of their physical development. My grandsons are constantly showing me how tall they are, how big their muscles are, and how much they weigh. I notice the granddaugthers are a bit more reserved about their developing bodies. The recent Olympics gave girls an opportunity to see physically fit women play sports with pride. That is a great model for girls and young women.
Data about successful women who participated in sports indicates they learned how to be authoritative, work on teams, set individual and team goals, and to be mentally tough.
What differences do you notice between boys and girls when it comes to sports?
When should children begin organized sports?
Good question! Sometimes parents feel pressured to get their children into organized sports at a very young age.
I remember when my 5 year old daughter played soccer for the first time. I wanted it to be fun and something she enjoyed. It was the 4-5 year old age group, and after a couple of wildly amusing practices they had their first game. In the middle of the game she actually kicked the ball for the first time and stopped midfield, looked over at me and gave me the biggest grin and two thumbs up. She was so proud. At that moment another child ran past her and yelled “GET YOUR HEAD IN THE GAME!”
Yep, my mouth hung open for a moment just like yours did. I can tell you that I literally saw her deflate before my very eyes. Be watchful and wary about when and where you send your children to experience their sport for the first time. Protect their egos and their developing brains.
Here’s a little info on what child development says young children can ‘handle’.
At the preschool age (3, 4, 5 years old) - children are developing a sense of independence and decision making. They are typically too young for a structured formal organized sport. Their brain development hasn’t yet mastered the ability to ‘lose gracefully’ and they can easily bored and distracted. Not to mention disruptive and frustrated. If we push them to ‘pay attention’ and ‘follow the rules’ we may actually be turning them ‘off’ to the sport in the future. Preschoolers need fun and light hearted experiences with lots of room for goofiness when it comes to sports.
How might you have handled my situation above?? Are there times that you have had similar experiences?
UPCOMING PARENTING WEBINAR
bullying, education, social-emotional, sports
We’ve all been there – cheering at the game and having fun watching the kids play. Then somewhere out of the stands comes that loud voice yelling, “What are you thinking, take him out,” or “Ref, how could you miss that call?” Then the tirade continues for the entire game alternately aimed at the coach, kids, and referees or umpires. Embarrassing – yes. Helpful to anyone – no.
I’m going to tackle (ok, its football season) the sensitive topic of adults and sportsmanship. It’s easier and safer to focus on the kids. But the truth is that adults can become overly involved. I am including all adults, not just parents, in this discussion. There’s no age limit, gender, or relationship that precludes an adult from “losing it” at a sporting event.
So what’s an overly involved parent or adult? Here are some questions to ask yourself.
- Do I get in arguments at my child’s sporting event?
- Do I object to calls and possibly cuss at the referees or umpires?
- Do I insist my child go to practice or play in a game even if she is sick or hurt?
- Do I complain to the coach about the amount of my child’s playing time?
- Do I insist my child is much better than others on the team?
- Do I tell or show my child how to play dirty?
- Do I show more approval when my child plays well?
Ok, it’s gut check time. Did any of these questions make you squirm just a little? Did some of them hit close to home? We’re not perfect and it’s easy to get caught up in an intense game.
But remember, as a parent you are ALWAYS a role model for your child. Sports help character development and what are you teaching your child when you lose control of your emotions and actions. What do you do to keep calm at your child’s games?
grandparenting, positive parenting, social-emotional, sports, Uncategorized
As I thought about children and sports this month I want to share something I overheard.
A young child was working on a new physically challenging skill. He was working and working and working so very hard. Finally SUCCESS!!! HE DID IT! He was so proud I swear he grew 4 inches right in front of my eyes! “I did it I tried my best and I did it!”
The older sibling overheard the exclamations of joy and in a grown up voice replied “It’s never our BEST, there is always room for improvement”.
SILENCE…….. DEFLATION……… end of working on skill.
Isn’t there a time when we really have done it ‘good enough’ to celebrate? Can’t we just stop and celebrate the moment and say “We did our best and we succeeded!” As we continue with children and sports this month, think about really allowing your child to celebrate the moment of their own personal success.
We ALL have to start somewhere and not all of us are going to be Olympians. Besides – without those of us having OUR OWN personal best, their would never be Olympians who we encouraged to be their best.
How have you celebrated personal bests with your child?
bullying, education, family time, positive parenting, raising teens, social-emotional, sports, temperament
Play sports for fun or play to win? When the focus is on fun, children are more likely to continue participating in sports and to develop an active lifestyle. But when parents and coaches push winning as more important, children tend to quit participating in sports.
This month we will talk about how to be a positive sports parent. Listen below to a short podcast on what research says now about Children and Sports.
Click here for additional information on Positive Sports Parenting
Podcast: Play in new window
education, family time, podcast, positive parenting, raising teens, social-emotional, sports
“Get in the car!” When those words are spoken adults, kids, and even dogs know it’s time to go. Our vehicles are a means to get us to work, school, church, sports, lessons, shopping, and just about anywhere we want or need to go. Car rides can also be a way to have a little fun.
Summer is a great time for mystery car rides. Start by having one parent and one child pick a secret destination. Everyone else is along for the ride. Pass the travel time with the rest of the family trying to guess where you are going and what you will do when you get there.
Here are some suggestions:
- Drive to a roadside stand for fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Drive to an ice cream shop for treats.
- Drive to the store and get a new game for the family to play.
- Drive to the park and have a picnic.
- Drive to the county fair, state fair, or a community festival.
- Drive to lake for some fishing.
- Drive to the pool for a family swim.
Okay – you get the idea. Mystery car rides can be an easy way to add some family fun without a lot of planning or expense.
In fact, why not take a mystery trip tonight? Wait until it’s about bedtime and and then say, “Get in the car.” Grab some blankets and then head to a drive through for ice cream cones. Don’t forget the dog! You’ll be having fun as a family and making some memories along the way.
family time, positive parenting, social-emotional
Welcome to our new format!
This month we will have a shorter podcast which we hope gives you more opportunities and ideas to blog!
Listen to the Family Fun Time podcast below and then share your ideas with us!
Podcast: Play in new window
education, podcast, positive parenting, raising teens, social-emotional
After listening to the podcast this month I found myself wondering about the things I have ‘over-learned’. Those things that come so easily to me now. And then I thought of my middle schooler and the things that are so difficult for her. I wondered how I could help her get to that ‘over learning’ that the podcast talks about so that she can be less frustrated with certain subjects (insert Math here).
As a parent sometimes it is so hard to watch our children struggle with different things in school. We want them to enjoy their days and not dread them. I am grateful that there are times that teachers have recognized struggling students and stepped in and said “hold up, we haven’t learned this yet and it’s not time to move on until we do”. They concentrated on the learn, re-learn and over-learn.
As parents it is our job to continue the learning process. What are some things that you have done these first few weeks of summer to continue the learn, re-learn and over-learning of your school agers? Share your stories here with us!
For additional ideas see “Dare to Excel” publications from ISU Extension and Outreach to Families (also available in Spanish)
education, language development, positive parenting, social-emotional, special needs
One of Donna’s comments really made me think…”but you don’t know my ex”. I felt like that statement took this month’s topic and wrapped it with a bow.
Isn’t it hard to take some things (people) out of difficult equations? Donna’s comment reminded me that ultimately there is only one thing I know to be true. I can only control and change the thoughts, actions and behaviors of myself. And no matter what my children will have to come first. (ok that’s 2 things).
As I reflect on the topic this month I think that is the statement to land on. No matter what- YOU are the only one you can change and control. Regardless of the actions and behaviors your ex displays you have to think about what behaviors and actions your children will see from you.
Your children will be watching and looking to you as to how they should respond in this difficult situation. They will follow your lead and their actions, thoughts and behaviors will mirror yours. What will they see?
We would love to here what statement impacted you most this month.
divorce, education, positive parenting, social-emotional