Where does the time go?

|Parents And Guardians - Are You Aware Articles
Niki Smidt

December 9, 2010

Winter is here and routines and patterns are changing along with the seasons. While you and your older children might be able to adjust to these changes quickly, it may take younger children longer. There may be challenges, especially if your child is going to child care for the first time or switching caregivers.

As an adult, you know how you feel when something changes. You experience anger, frustration, fear or maybe sadness. Changing situations can cause the same emotions in your child. You want to help your child during this time. With a little assistance from mom and dad or an older sibling, your child can successfully work through these seasonal changes.

Here are some ideas, adapted from the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL). CSEFEL’s Teaching Your Child to Identify and Express Emotions suggests parents can:

  • Help children learn about their feelings.
  • Assist children in naming their feelings.
  • Teach children acceptable ways of expressing their feelings.

How you can do this:

  1. Talk about feelings using words your child can understand.
    - Also try using pictures, books or videos. Your child may be able to relate to the emotions his favorite character is feeling, such as being sad.
  2. Teach your child ways to express his feelings.
    - Let your child come up with ways to handle his feelings, on his own.
    - Talk about positive and not so positive ways of managing feelings.
  3. Praise your child when he does express his feelings.
    - Let your child know its OK to talk about what he is feeling.
    - Tell your child you’re proud of him when he does express his feelings.
  4. Support your child in practicing his feelings.
    - Do not try to practice in the middle of a meltdown.
    - Use daily activities and conversations to help your child practice feelings.

Being there for your child will help ease difficult times he might be going through. Whether your child is in a new child care setting, or just having a difficult time with the changes of the season, talk with his child care provider. A solid relationship and open communication with your provider will greatly benefit your child’s experience. In addition, if you talk with your provider about the struggles your child is having with current changes, she may be able to help with some of the above tips as well.

The tips above were adapted with permission of the Center for the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning, www.vanderbilt.edu/csefel.

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