Blog posts tagged in Toddler
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The biggest challenge parents face is their children’s drive for independence. A toddler or a preschooler’s drive for independence is even fiercer than a teenager’s. While a teenager may be looking to undo parental control your preschooler is looking to share control. They are trying to become part of your world by taking responsibility for their own actions.

This drive for independence is slow and messy. Learning to walk – the first great independence is full of falls and scares (more for Mom than for baby). And it is a slow and unsteady success. Even when they accomplish vertical independence their rate of locomotion impels us to pick them up and carry them if we want to get anywhere now.

Learning to feed oneself is a second (and very messy) independence. Graduating from hands to utensils is a major success of coordination and development. Again, if we want to finish dinner before breakfast we wind up feeding our child.

The third independence is the ability to communicate – to be able to share desires and wants. Ironically, after Ma Ma and Da Da often comes the independent word No.

The fourth independence is often the ability to dress oneself. It is often a laborious, time consuming frustrating adventure trying not to get your head in your sleeve or putting your pants on backwards. (“What do you mean I have my shoes on the wrong feet?” “These are the only feet I have.”) Stripes and polka dots are just fine together – blinding maybe – but fine. This is about independence not aesthetics or style.

The fifth independence is usually potty training. Children have their own timetable and level of comfort with the process. We often think they are trained when we constantly ask them if they have to go potty. This independence is achieved for their convenience not for ours, even though it is our convenience that pushes the training. My wife always shared with anxious parents that she had never been to a wedding where the bride or groom walked down the isle in pampers. Relax!

Their independence is bought at the cost of our time. Their fight for independence is against our schedules, against our limited flexibility in our day. They don’t mean to slow us down, they just want to do it themselves. They don’t mean to make messes (which takes time to clean up) they just want to do it themselves. How are they ever going to pour milk from the gallon jug unless they try (and try and try and try?)

The challenge of childhood independence is that it is never perfect. They can’t sweep a floor as well or as quickly or as thoroughly as the adult. But how will they ever learn unless they try? “I will just wait until they are older” is a proven recipe for unmotivated, incompetent, uninvolved teenagers who then resent the end of a ten or fifteen year ride of being served with no responsibility attached.

“Help me do it myself” is the foundation of adult responsibility birthed into our children long before they can do it by themselves. “Help me do it myself” is the great gift parents give their children. It is not only the accomplishment of the task that affects the children – giving rise to feelings of competence but it is the feeling of confidence that comes because they know that we believe in them. When we tell our children that they can achieve anything they set their hearts and minds to – they believe us because we have been their cheerleaders for independence and success.

 

Edward Fidellow

www.crossmountainpress.com

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Welcome Back!  School is officially in session. We are looking forward to our new students joining us tomorrow.  But, saying goodbye can be hard.  As excited as we all might be about school it can be difficult to say goodbye.  Separation anxiety is a normal part of the routine and we would like to offer some tips that might be helpful...
 
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  1. Prepare  your child.  Be sure to help them understand what they can expect.  Talk about how the routine will go... "We will walk to your cubby first and put your things away.  Then, I will remind you where to find the bathroom and then I'll take you to the door of your classroom.  Your teacher will meet us there and we will give one hug, one kiss and one high five and then I will leave."
  2. Don't be surprised if your child is having a difficult time even if they are returning to the same classroom, with the same teachers, and the same peers.  
  3. Stick to your routine!  A change in routine can make separation anxiety even more intense for a child.  If you say you are going to give one hug, one kiss and one high five, DO IT!  Drawing out the goodbye not only makes it hard but also hinders your child's ability to develop confidence that you are both really expected to do what you say.
  4. Refrain from entering the classroom.  We try to give our students the first 6 weeks to make the environment "theirs" and develop a routine before inviting parents inside.  If you have questions about how or what your child is doing be sure to ask their teacher at the end of the day.  Or, feel free to call our office and we will check in on your child.  But, trust your child that they can develop the skills to make it through their school day.
  5. Stay calm and let your child know you trust them.  Although you might be concerned that your child is going to have a hard transition, be sure to express your confidence in them.  If you aren't comfortable leaving campus until you know they are doing okay, you are welcome to hang out in our lobby and our staff will check on your child.  Or, give us a call on the phone and we will be happy to check.  
  6. Keep it short. Avoid lingering...this can cause further distress. Rest assured that if your child is unable to settle or remains distraught, we will call you.  It is important to us that your child feels this is a safe and peaceful place.  If they need a shorter day here in order to build that confidence, we will support them.
  7. Give it time.  It can take up to 6 weeks for children to "normalize."  If you have concerns that it is taking your child too long to adjust, be sure to speak with the teachers. They might have some good ideas to help you both.  
  8. Return on time.  It can be difficult for children to build trust if their parent and/or teacher tell them that mommy or daddy will "be here soon" and you are not.  If you are going to be late, give us a call so we can prepare your child.  Unexpected events occur and we are happy to support you and your child so call our office if you are running late. 
  9. Show your child that you trust the teachers.  If they feel that you lack confidence in the teachers or the school, they will also lack confidence.  Again, if you have concerns about your child's care, please speak with the teachers or administration.  
  10. Ask your child about their day. Let them express frustrations but also ask specific questions that might lead them to remember the good parts of their day.  "Did you play in the sandbox today?"  "Did your teacher read any stories today?  What was the story about?" 
  11. Most importantly - be consistent!
We are so happy that you have entrusted us with your precious children.  We look forward to a wonderful year and invite you to let us know in person, over the phone, or via email if you have any questions or concerns about your child's transitions.  
 
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Our Toddlers, ages 18 months to 3 years, are having a very busy and productive summer.  We are always amazed at these little ones and all they are capable of!  
 
MCS still has space in our Toddler program for fall.  Give us a call to schedule a tour and learn more about the magic of Montessori at the Toddler level.
 
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