Establishing the Environment

Everyone needs a feeling of safety, no matter the age or stage in life. The home is usually the first foundation of safety for most families. And new parents spend a great deal of time moving throughout the home, making sure the environment their children are exposed to is safe!

A classroom teacher has the same responsibility for maintaining safety. Securing the environment helps children feel comfortable, secure, and capable of success!  As children feel more secure and safe in their environment, whether at home, school, or even after-school, they will begin to assert their own independence.

As children grow, we want them to use their budding independence to learn new skills; practice making new friends; and have confidence at school. Parents can support their children’s autonomy in the following ways:

  • Create consistency in routines and rules. The structure that children grow to expect is a protective factor for their growing independence.
  • Establish expectations for your children and communicate those expectations and consequences to them! When children know what to expect, they can make good decisions knowing their parents will help and support them.
  • Reinforce the good behaviors children exhibit with praise and positive discipline.
  • When consequences are required, communicate honestly and provide rationale for behaviors that are expected. Use natural and logical consequences to help children to make good choices.
  • Take an active interest in your child’s activities and interests.
  • Showing love, warmth, and responding to them with positive feedback will also help them develop their independence.

Be sure to listen to the Science of Parenting podcast to learn more about establishing safe and secure environments at home and away!

Barb Dunn Swanson

With two earned degrees from Iowa State University, Barb is a Human Sciences Specialist utilizing her experience working alongside communities to develop strong youth and families! With humor and compassion, she enjoys teaching, listening and learning to learn!

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Frogs, Crawdads and Other Slimy Things

I have 3 girls and do you want to know what we love to do for family fun?  It’s not very girlie!  Hunt and peck around in the mud at ponds! Overturning rocks to find crawdads. Moving the branches to find the frogs on the edge of the pond. Watching the turtles duck under the water when they see us coming.

We love to find and watch and listen to all the sights and sounds of local ponds. There is so much to see if you get down and look. You don’t have to get dirty just get closer to the grass and trees and rocks and water and really look. It’s a whole new world with new adventures when you are that close.

Family fun that includes nature can be fantastically exciting and fabulously FREE!

What are some idea you have when it comes to enjoying nature as a family? Let’s start a list…

Lori Korthals, 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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