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: Peer Support for Children with Special Needs
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.
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:
Grandparents have always been an important part of children’s lives. In fact, many schools celebrated grandparents day on Sept 9th this year. In celebration of grandparents and in keeping with the theme of school success for our September podcast and blog (www.scienceofparenting.org), here are a few tips on how grandparents can help children this school year.
- Ask. But ask specifically! Rather than ask how school is going, be specific. Ask children what book they are reading, what their favorite part of the school day is, or what they are studying in a particular subject.
- Praise. Not for their accomplishments but for their EFFORT! Praise them for the long hours they put into their studies. For eating that breakfast that helps their brain or simply for sharing their activities with grandpa and grandma!
- Participate. Visit or volunteer for activities or functions. Be a guest speaker. Or even join the class online blogs and discussion boards.
- Read. Share stories both written and verbal with your grandchild. Write them notes, letters or emails.
- Plan. Encourage your grandchildren to think about their future plans and goals. Let your grandkids know you believe in them and the importance of trying their best.
“If you as a grandparent are raising your grandchildren, remember that it is important to know the child’s school and teachers. Get involved in your grandchildren’s homework, make school work a priority and stay in contact with the school.”
How have grandparents impacted your child’s school success?
For more information see the link below on Grandparents and School Success: http://www.extension.org/pages/20318/grandparents-can-contribute-to-childrens-school-success
Check out the recorded Parenting Webinar on Helping Children Succeed in School!
Join us for our live Webinar conversation on helping children succeed in school!
Monday, September 10th, 8-9pm CST. Now view the archived session
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?
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?
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
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!
Do you ever having trouble remembering something you just read? Or you’ve already forgotten what you did five minutes ago or plan to do next? Happens to me way too often and I’m always telling myself, “Focus Donna.”
When I listened to the podcast I heard the “focus” word loud and clear. We’re told that focus has a lot to do with what we remember. In the classroom the teacher has to first get a child’s attention before he can teach a new concept. As a parent you have to get your child’s attention before you can even have a conversation.
Then the next step is to do something to elaborate on what was learned. This points out the need for enrichment activities to take learning to a higher level.
For example, let’s say your child just learned fractions. What can you do to enrich the concept? One idea is to have him help you bake his favorite cookies. He will soon be using those fractions with the measuring cups and spoons. Perhaps an older child is wrestling with active and passive verbs. She can elaborate on the definitions by writing a short story.
Focus and enrich – two simple words and concepts that are so important when it comes to learning. First we must remember and then we use or practice what we learned. What do you do to help yourself focus and remember? What have you found helpful in extending and enriching your child’s lessons?
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!
Picture a country school filled with students 1st through 8th grades. Hear the murmurs coming from the coatrooms. Imagine yours truly sitting cross legged on the floor next to a beginning reader.
This is the world I experienced for the first eight years of my education. I attended a large country school with three classrooms and three teachers. We studied hard and played hard. And when you finished your assignments you got to be the teacher’s helper. This is where the coatroom enters the picture.
I would take a student from a lower grade to the coatroom. Then we would settle in under the jackets or coats and between extra shoes and boots. The little student would open up her reader or pull out math problems and we would go to work. I would listen, explain, and teach. When our time was up we returned to the classroom; both of us knowing just a little more.
My story is not just a walk down memory lane. Rather it serves to illustrate a critical point made in the podcast about learning. It is important to have overlearning which is well past the initial learning. And one of the best ways to do this is by teaching someone else what you have learned. When I was helping a student pronounce a big word or work through a multiplication problem, I was reactivating my knowledge. I was learning again and again.
My class was the last one to graduate from this country school. Today, education looks and feels quite different. But the concepts of how students learn remain the same. We constantly relearn what we’ve learned before and each time it gets faster.
What can you do this summer to help your child relearn prior lessons?
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.
A wild ‘Dust-nado’ that sent the town/schools scrambling a few weeks ago and the topic of Divorce made me think about how we cope with ‘storms’ of life.
In a sense we begin coping with all storms the same way. We open our toolbox of what we ‘know’ and begin to apply the skills to the storm. If the storm is small we may have all the tools we need to cope effectively. But as the storm grows we need to be open to allowing others (personal and professional) to help us fill that toolbox with the right tools. You really don’t want to use a hammer when you NEED a screwdriver (well in most cases- HA!).
In the midst of storms it can be difficult for us to determine the right tool to use for the storm we are in because we are in the middle of if surrounded by the yuck and muck. It can be hard to allow others to help us use the right tools – I’ll be the first one to admit I like to solve problems on my own! So I challenge you as I challenge myself – can you let others help you choose the right tool for your storm?
What tools have you found effective for life’s storms? Both big and small?
This is an exciting time at Science of Parenting!
We have a question for you! What if we offered you opportunities for additional information on your favorite topics?
Come with me to my brain … envision this…
The kids have settled down and gone to bed. You have your comfy slippers on your feet and your favorite chair is ready!
You grab the computer or whatever technology is closest and join us ‘after hours’ for an online conversation on the monthly Science of Parenting topic.
Recently we tested the idea. “Taming the Tiger Within” was held at 8:30pm on a Tuesday night for about 50 minutes. We shared ideas on how to tame those tantrums and your feet were up on your own recliner! It seemed like there were no bugs hiding out in our system so we are going to offer it again.
Tuesday, May 22nd 8:30pm.
Watch for log on details soon!
Join us and learn how to tame your tiger! Invite your friends to subscribe to the blog and you can all join us with your slippers on!
What topics would you like to see offered as an evening webinar?