Early Childhood Awareness

Helpful websites on child development and parenting:

Cooperative Extension's National Network for Child Care http://www.nncc.org.

National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families, Zerto to Three http://www.zerotothree.org

National Institute on Early Childhood Development and Education http://www.ed.gov/offices/OERI/ECI/index.html

Parenting Tips

Does your child know his/her name, address and phone number?:

  • Make up a rhyme or simple song or chant that includes your address.
  • Write your child's name in big letters on a piece of paper and put it up in his/her room.
  • Practicing dialing your phone number on a toy telephone.

Have you hugged your child today?

  • Don't worry about spoiling a child with hugs-it shows a child you care.
  • Share "mini-hugs" throughout the day-hug a finger, hug a knee.
  • Make a loving hug part of your child's bedtime routine.

Do you guide your child on getting along with others?

  • Make eye contact and get down to your child's level when you speak to him/her.
  • Praise your child when you "catch him/her being good." Be specific in your praise.
  • Remember, discipline means "to teach." Children need lots of reminding.

Have you let your child know he/she's special?

  • Tell your child stories about cute or funny things he/she did when he/she was younger.
  • Point out his/her unique skills, qualities, and talent-What does he/she do well?
  • Let your child help with simple chores around the house; let him/her know he/she is important to your family.

Does your child have a safe, special place of his own?

  • Let your child make some decorations for his room or space.
  • Plan some quiet time in your home each day.
  • Check your child for lead poisoning twice a year from the age of 9 months to 6 years.
  • Shelter your child. Witnessing violence affects children for years to come.

Does your child get time every day to move his/her big muscles?

  • Go outside with your child whenever you can.
  • Play "follow the leader" and crawl, run, hop, and skip.
  • Give your child a scarf and let him/her twirl and dance to music.

Do you set limits on the amount of TV viewing in your home?

  • Look through the TV listings with your child. Help him/her choose a program to watch.
  • Plan something interesting for your child to do when a TV program ends.
  • Be a good role model. Make sure your child sees you choosing an activity over TV most of the time.

Does your child get regular checkups and shots?

  • Have your child "practice" going to the doctor using a doll or stuffed animal. Your child could pretend to be the doctor or nurse.
  • Be honest about shots and procedures. "Yes, the shot will hurt a little at first, but it will feel better soon." "I will hold your hand when you get your shot."

Does your child have a regular routine with someone he/she loves?

  • Children feel secure when they know what's coming next and what's expected of them.
  • Try to be consistent and predictable about meal times, bath times, and nap times.
  • Give children time to move from one activity to another. "When the kitchen timer goes off, it will be time to put away your blocks."

Do you talk and read to your baby or child every day?

  • Ask questions about the story when you read out loud to your child.
  • Expand on your child's language. If he/she says "truck," you can say "I see the big, yellow truck."
  • Ask the librarian at your local library to recommend books that are right for your child's age.

Do you know what to do when your baby or child cries?

  • Cuddle your baby close to you and talk or sing to him/her.
  • Teach your child words to help him/her express his/her sand feelings.
  • Try walking with your baby outside in the fresh air.

Do you carefully choose a baby sitter with experience and knowledge about children's ages and stages?

  • Ask your baby sitter questions about feeding, sleeping, discipline, and play times.
  • Make sure you choose a baby sitter that lets you come by or call when you want to.
  • When you leave your child with a baby sitter, don't sneak out. Say good-bye and tell your child where you are going and when you'll be back.

Do you do fun things with your child?

  • Tell jokes and riddles. Make up silly songs.
  • Make paper placemats or a centerpiece with your child to make mealtime special.
  • Give your child a little gift or treat just for the fun of it.

Does your child get to use his fingers and hands in play activities?

  • Have a supply of art supplies like crayons, stickers, and paper that your child can use.
  • Children love water play, in the tub, sink, or outside.
  • Let your older child string O-shaped cereal on yearn for an edible necklace.

Does your child get a variety of healthy food every day?

  • Let your child help you with food preparation. Children will often be willing to try new foods if they have a hand in the preparation.
  • Cut our pictures of healthy foods from old magazines. Have your child glue them on paper to make a "healthy food collage."
  • When you go to the grocery store, give your child his/her own "list" with a few healthy foods on it. Your child can find those foods and put them in the cart.

How do you celebrate your family?

  • Draw a "family portrait" with your child using crayons or markers.
  • Create a family ritual-a special supper, a weekend picnic, or a special song.
  • Take turns telling each family member what you like about him or her.



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