The RIGHT Kind of Play

I admit to feeling like I had a play deficit when my children were little. So much so that I used to make myself feel pretty guilty because as an early childhood educator I felt like I should be better at ‘PLAY’. What I discovered is that I just play differently. And guess what. So do you!

We all play differently. I found that I like play that is active or has action. Others like to play board and/or card games that are more quiet. While still others enjoy the make believe and dress up adventures. There is no right or wrong way to play. There is just play. Pure and simple. Play. Play is face to face with the children in your life. Engaging their mind and body while creating strong relationships. Back and forth communication.  I guess my message really is don’t over analyze how you play or if you play is good enough or right enough.

Just play.

Pat yourself on the back, give yourself credit and tell me how you like to play with the children in your life.

Lori Hayungs, M.S.

Mother of three. Lover of all things child development related. Fascinated by temperament and brain development. Professional background with families, child care providers, teachers and community service entities.

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Come Play with Us!

“Play is a way in which we can learn about ourselves and others. It is at the heart of creativity and makes us more productive”.

Parents often greet a new baby with stuffed animals, dolls and other toys, all given in anticipation of the play that is to come. Join us in March as we talk about the power of play for children of all ages.

Click on the podcast below to hear fascinating research on play.

Lori Hayungs, M.S.

Mother of three. Lover of all things child development related. Fascinated by temperament and brain development. Professional background with families, child care providers, teachers and community service entities.

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It’s not the emotion – it’s the outlet.

Guest Blogger- Family Life Intern Mackenzie K.

As Donna and the podcast suggested, anger is natural for children. There are countless issues that may cause a child to feel angry: not getting their way, frustration over things that are hard, learning difficulties, family problems, or friendship issues.

Often times we want to tell our children that they should not be angry. Their anger sometimes seems irrational and unjustified to us as parents. In reality, the emotion of anger is not the problem; it is how they handle that anger.

So allow your child to feel angry. We all know how hard it is to try to change your emotions. Help your child identify their feeling as anger. Saying and labeling the emotion like this may be helpful, “You are angry because I won’t let you eat candy before supper” or “I can tell that when you don’t make the circle perfect it makes you frustrated”.

Now that they can recognize their anger, they can learn how to address it. There are some great strategies and tips to try when helping your child learn to handle their anger in the article below:

Getting Along: When I’m Angry

Does anyone have any experience using these techniques? What has worked best for you and your child?

Lori Hayungs, M.S.

Mother of three. Lover of all things child development related. Fascinated by temperament and brain development. Professional background with families, child care providers, teachers and community service entities.

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We all get MAD!

Yep, we all get mad! Infants, toddlers, elementary kids, middle schoolers, high schoolers, college kids, young adults, the middle aged and the aging. We ALL get MAD!  So if we all get mad then why sometimes do we let others people anger confound and confuse us so much?

Understanding how my own emotions impact my behavior was a huge part of me being able to understand why my children get angry and how they show it in their behaviors. I realized that my emotions created my behaviors and my children were reacting to those behaviors.  Think of it like a circle –  Behavior, Reaction, Behavior, Reaction and so on and so on.  As the adult we have to figure out how to make the behaviors and reactions less intense and emotion filled. Easier said than done right?  That’s where our blog begins. Join us and help us start the discussion.

Here are some of my favorite temperament places. Parent Child Help – Mary Sheedy Kurcinka ,   Behavioral-Development Initiatives  and Preventive Ounce

Lori Hayungs, M.S.

Mother of three. Lover of all things child development related. Fascinated by temperament and brain development. Professional background with families, child care providers, teachers and community service entities.

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What Else Can I Do?

In this month’s podcast we learned that the research around corporal punishment is not a black and white issue. Then through the blogs several of you raised different perspectives. Ultimately it comes down to what is really a simple question – “How should I respond when my kid is misbehaving?”

Because this is such a big concern for parents, we decided to devote the spring webinar to the topic. Mark your calendar for March 14 from 8:00-9:00 pm. Plan to join us as we:

  • Discuss three common ways parents use guidance and discipline with their children
  • Talk about why children misbehave
  • Figure out the difference between punishment and positive discipline
  • Explore discipline teaching tools appropriate for different ages and temperaments

Watch for further details about the free webinar here on the Science of Parenting site.

Donna Donald

Donna Donald is a Human Sciences specialist for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach who has spent her career working with families across the lifespan. She believes families are defined by function as well as form. Donna entered parenthood as a stepmother to three daughters and loves being a grandmother of seven young adults.

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FRUITY PEBBLES OR DEATH

Guest Blogger – Family Life Intern Mackenzie K

You are at the grocery store and just about done with your shopping. It’s been a pretty pleasant trip, but then you round the last aisle. Your child sprints toward the Fruity Pebbles. “Please please please”. You respond, “No, we aren’t going to get those this time”.  And it begins: the kicking feet, flailing arms, and high-pitched screaming. You are the victim of another grocery store tantrum via Fruity Pebbles or Death.

When it happens to you as the parent, it makes you feel embarrassed, and (let’s be real) frustrated with your child. You just wanted a quick simple trip to the store, and now you have a screaming child drawing a lot of unwanted attention to you.

So how do we address the problem of our screaming child? Some of us may want to spank or threaten. Some of us may want give in to the child’s request in order to stop the fit. Some of us may yell back. Some of us may simply walk away.

According to researchers at Zero to Three, the key to this scenario  is staying calm rather than losing it. Don’t let your anger get the best of you. Also, make sure to validate your child’s feelings. They really do feel frustrated! There are some great tips and techniques to try in the article below:

Zero to Three: When he doesn’t get his way
Have you used any of the techniques in the article before? How has it gone for you?

Lori Hayungs, M.S.

Mother of three. Lover of all things child development related. Fascinated by temperament and brain development. Professional background with families, child care providers, teachers and community service entities.

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It’s awfully quiet in here

Psssst  I know you listened to the Corporal Punishment podcast because it tells me how many times it was reviewed.

It’s ok, I know this is a hard topic to discuss out loud. I sometimes feel the most comfortable when I can look up information on my own and think about it first. Here’s the catch – information has to be credible AND reliable information. And here at extension we also demand that it be research based.

So how about we start there – I’m going to share some solid research based resources around the topic of corporal punishment  for you to review and ponder over -and then we can talk a bit more. Feel free to ask us not to post your question individually and we will be happy to post it as a ‘subscriber submitted question’.

Here you go!

Lori Hayungs, M.S.

Mother of three. Lover of all things child development related. Fascinated by temperament and brain development. Professional background with families, child care providers, teachers and community service entities.

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Corporal Punishment….. ouch are we really gonna blog about it?

Should parents spank their children? This month that’s our topic~ yes we really are gonna talk about spanking and alternative ways to discipline children.

Listen to the podcast, check out the links and then join us for great discussion!

Lori Hayungs, M.S.

Mother of three. Lover of all things child development related. Fascinated by temperament and brain development. Professional background with families, child care providers, teachers and community service entities.

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Get a clue…

Hmmm so I wondered after the last blog about myself and my children. I checked out the resources that Donna listed and am sharing here four of the clues to overindulging children. You can find the research and resources here….   4 Clues to Overindulgence

Instead of sharing with you the questions, I am going to share with you the examples.

  • My five-year-old has toys in every room of the house, but he is always begging for new toys.
  • My ten-year-old’s clothes closet is bulging with garments, but she can’t find anything to wear to school in the morning.
  • My 13-year-old has a heavy after-school activity schedule every day and all day Saturday. We want to keep him occupied so he won’t get into drugs.
  • My 17-year-old loves the computer and video games. He spends all of his time looking at the screen. He isn’t interested in sports, and it is a struggle to get him to exercise. I’m afraid he stays up half the night.

I encourage you to go view the questions. Then come back here and share your thought with us!

They made me think.

Lori Hayungs, M.S.

Mother of three. Lover of all things child development related. Fascinated by temperament and brain development. Professional background with families, child care providers, teachers and community service entities.

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It’s Not the Same as Spoiled

Wow – I think we struck a note (or nerve) with the opening podcast on overindulgence. Some people are responding with humor and others are seriously questioning what it means. And on occasion, I’ve heard “that surely doesn’t include a doting aunt, grandparents, and so on.”

I confess, I’ve been known to spoil my grandkids now and then. And I’m guessing some of you parents have given in to your child’s desire for that special something. That’s not what we’re talking about with overindulgence which is a pattern of behavior with too much, over-nurture, and soft structure.

Let’s start with one type of overindulgence which is material. That is having too much (toys, clothes, privileges, entertainment, activities) and not knowing what is enough. Researchers use a test of four to determine if there is an overindulgence issue. If one clue is present, then it’s time to stop and see what’s going on.

  1. Does the situation hinder the child from learning the tasks that support his or her development and learning at this age?
  2. Does the situation give a disproportionate amount of family resources to one or more of the children?
  3. Does this situation exist to benefit the adult more than the child?
  4. Does the child’s behavior potentially harm others, society, or the planet in some way?

Do these questions make sense? Have you thought about any of these questions as you make decisions in your family?

Note: As with all our podcasts we intend to share studies and research. Then our blogs are a further look into the topic from our perspective and we encourage your comments. I invite you to check out the research listing on the www.overindulgence.info web page. Links take you directly to research being done by Dr. Bredehoft and others. Another suggested reading is Study 6: Connections between Childhood Overindulgence and Adult Life Aspirations – A Preliminary Report by David J. Bredehoft and Chelsae Armao, 2008.

Donna Donald

Donna Donald is a Human Sciences specialist for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach who has spent her career working with families across the lifespan. She believes families are defined by function as well as form. Donna entered parenthood as a stepmother to three daughters and loves being a grandmother of seven young adults.

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Overindulgence

Research shows that children who get everything they want grow up to be greedy, materialistic, self-centered adults. However, parents can raise their children to focus instead on internal life goals, such as learning, developing relationships and helping others.

In December, join us as we offer tips for parents on how to avoid overindulging children and learning when ‘enough is enough.  Overindulgence

Lori Hayungs, M.S.

Mother of three. Lover of all things child development related. Fascinated by temperament and brain development. Professional background with families, child care providers, teachers and community service entities.

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Thank you, it’s a habit

30 days of thankfulness was something I saw on various social networking sites all month long. As I looked at our blog and the social network sites (and then the upcoming topic for December) I took a pause and wondered… Did the 30 days of thankfulness create a habit? Does our modeling of manners and respect create habits that stick with our children? With ourselves? Is my grammar really poor in these sentences? (Oops I digress)

And that’s where my mind stuck…. Habits. Aren’t we essentially trying teach our children positive social habits when it comes to manners, empathy, respect and even thankfulness?  Habits. Seems like such a negative word sometimes because we often focus on ‘bad habits’.   But what if we stopped and thought about our good habits. The ones we hope our children turn into their own?

Play along with me —

What are some of your good habits?

Lori Hayungs, M.S.

Mother of three. Lover of all things child development related. Fascinated by temperament and brain development. Professional background with families, child care providers, teachers and community service entities.

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Pushing and Shoving

First we celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends. Everyone is on their best behavior and we return home with full tummies and counting our blessings. Then comes Black Friday! The news will be filled with reports of people pushing and shoving and fighting – all in the name of buying gifts for the holidays. Am I the only one who sees the disconnect?

So parents, think about what you are teaching your children – both in words and actions. The simple niceties – waiting your turn, saying please and thank you, letting someone else go first, being patient, having a sense of humor – are good manners. They are also ways we show respect to other people. And these people are not just our family and friends. The respect is also extended to the tired clerk, the overwrought young mother, the waiter working extended hours, and the mall police person. If we stop and think for just a minute we can empathize what it is like to be in their shoes. We can appreciate the work they are doing and how it impacts our lives.

During the craziness that can bubble over this holiday season, lead by example. A smile and a kind word will make everyone feel better. And while you’re teaching your children, you are also teaching other adults that manners, empathy, and respect are important in a civilized society.

Donna Donald

Donna Donald is a Human Sciences specialist for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach who has spent her career working with families across the lifespan. She believes families are defined by function as well as form. Donna entered parenthood as a stepmother to three daughters and loves being a grandmother of seven young adults.

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From manners to respect to empathy

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.

Lori Hayungs, M.S.

Mother of three. Lover of all things child development related. Fascinated by temperament and brain development. Professional background with families, child care providers, teachers and community service entities.

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Brush Up on Table Manners

Several major holidays are just around the corner. Many people will attend family gatherings that usually include food. Or in the case of Thanksgiving – the holiday seems to revolve around the food. So are you a little nervous that your kids who eat way too many meals on the run may not know how to behave at the table? Is it time for a quick lesson on table manners?

A few gentle reminders at the breakfast table, in the car on the way to school, or as you’re fixing the evening meal, can do the trick. We aren’t trying to turn the kids into walking advertisements for Emily Post. But we are attempting to teach a few basics that will help relieve some of the stress for everyone when kids are placed in social settings.

Here’s the list I used with our girls.

  • Ask someone to pass the mashed potatoes. Don’t reach across two people to get the bowl.
  • Chew with your mouth closed. Save the gross “look at me” games for home.
  • Eat and then talk. It’s hard for Aunt Tina to understand you with your mouth full of green beans.
  • Try, try, try to sit up in your chair and keep your elbows off the table. We used to sing a song about this because everyone forgets.
  • Compliment the cook on something you like (can’t get enough of the noodles) and keep quiet about Uncle Rob’s dressing you couldn’t make me eat.
  • Say “please” and “thank you.” This will get you big points for being well mannered.

So what’s the point of all this? In the podcast Lori talked about how manners are a way for society to keep things pleasant. Observing basic table manners will make meals go more smoothly. When children, and adults, use their manners they are showing respect for the people gathered around the table.

What table manners do you teach your kids?

Donna Donald

Donna Donald is a Human Sciences specialist for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach who has spent her career working with families across the lifespan. She believes families are defined by function as well as form. Donna entered parenthood as a stepmother to three daughters and loves being a grandmother of seven young adults.

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