Archive for September, 2013

Five Things That will Help Grow Your Child Into Responsible Adulthood

Posted on: September 17th, 2013 by ctpadmin

As I contemplate what goals I have for my grandkids and students, I try to imagine them as they become teenagers, college students or young adults.  My desires include the following:

  1. Make responsible decisions about little things in life as well as the big things
  2. Exercise self-control
  3. Have an intrinsic sense of self-worth
  4. Be a creative thinker
  5. Learn from their mistakes

 The consultation phase

The consultation phase

Recently, I watched as my grandkids, Gramps and their dad began roaming our woods to build a treehouse. Ben was 8 and Bekah was 7.  Many parents today would be terrified to have their kids in the woods at all, let alone without an adult by their side.  There were many things that were embedded in the decision to build this treehouse –

  • Letting the kids out alone in the woods
  • Having it high in a tree
  • Not having sides on the platform so it was seemingly “unsafe”

The construction of this canopy hideaway was adult supervised, with lots of consultation from the kids.   They helped choose the trees, looking for specific attributes necessary for its location; they helped decide the construction of the initial platform and then some of the details for making it a safe place.  This was their opportunity to be creative thinkers.  Some of their ideas were discarded, but many were used after some serious consideration.  This was also their opportunity to be a decision makers.

 IMG_0429

As helpers in the project, they were given jobs at which they would succeed and then rewarded with verbal acknowledgement of their hard work and creativity.  There were times when a screw didn’t go in straight or a board was cut a bit short.  They were not reprimanded for the mistake, but guided to find a solution to a new problem.  Could an adult have noticed the crooked screw and stopped it before it happened?  Of course, but the kids wouldn’t have learned that it is important to be aware of keeping it straight if someone intervened at every step of the way.  They were allowed to learn from their mistakes.

 Even if you don’t have time (or woods) for a tree house project, there are many chances in day-to-day life where you can help your children grow.  How about letting your 4 year old walk to a neighbor’s house by herself.  I still remember the first time I let my son walk to the corner store.  I could watch him the entire way and I called ahead to say he was coming.  He was so proud of himself and had a feeling of independence.  This summer we let our 5 year old  grandson try his hand at the monkey bars on the playground.  We didn’t put a helmet on his head or carry him across more than once.  When he accomplished the task, he grinned from ear to ear.  We suggested that he had accomplished a hard task by himself.  We had a hard time prying him away from the monkey bars in spite of sore hands!

Next time you are confronted by a decision to allow your child to do something that may seem dangerous or a bit risky, consider how you can turn it into a positive experience for him/her to succeed independently.  I believe we are growing leaders.  How are you doing?

Below you will find an article that may help you along the way.

http://growingleaders.com/blog/3-mistakes-we-make-leading-kids/

Three Ways a Parent Can Effectively Enrich a Young Child’s World?

Posted on: September 11th, 2013 by ctpadmin

To enrich is “to make fuller or more meaningful, more beautiful and endow with fine or desirable qualities.” (thefreedictionary.com) 

You want this for your child, don’t you?

As an early childhood education provider, I believe it is important to think about the things that we provide, not just the number of activities, but the quality of those activities. Activities with meaning provide fertile ground for significant conversations with your child from a very young age.  Some of the most meaningful activities are:

  • Music
  • Art
  • Drama

Music offers  a wide variety of styles  for your child – jazz, classical, pop, standards, music from musicals and movies?  Children’s music can be very intriguing to your child, be sure it is well sung and the lyrics are appropriate. When providing music for them to listen to, we make sure that it is well performed, quality music?

How about live performances – in the summer there are many events that are free or relatively inexpensive in communities right around you.

 Art is another opportunity for your child to create. Are you providing opportunities for your child to create their own artistic creations, and to look at different kinds of art?  Children are like sponges and when they are exposed to styles of different artists, they are often able to identify other works by that artist.  

 There are wonderful art museums in the Greater Hartford Area.  One real gem is the New Britain Museum of American Art http://www.nbmaa.org in New Britain. Engaging exhibits as well as educational programs are available for all ages.  Of course there is the icon of art museums, the Wadsworth Atheneum, http://www.wadsworthatheneum.org in Hartford. New England is rich in close, and relatively inexpensive, opportunities available for our children.

Recently, I was privileged to travel to the Berkshires with my sister and nieces to spend a few days.  A mere two hours away, we were able to visit Tanglewood for a concert on the lawn and attend free dance performances at one of the most outstanding Dance Festivals in the country, Jacob’s Pillow http://www.jacobspillow.org.  We witnessed seasoned performers as well as students, just beginning their career.  It was truly an inspirational time for the girls and a satisfying journey for the older generation!

Drama, also offers a wonderful opportunity for youth in our community. Tolland produces a musical every summer with kids.  This year it was Shrek on July 26 and 27.  The same weekend, I produced the musical, Treasure Island

Cast of Treasure Island

Cast of Treasure Island

 

in Stafford at Memorial Hall.  These productions were exciting ways to introduce children to live performance for little or no money.  One notch up in price is the outstanding Connecticut Repertory Theatre (CRT) at UConn http://crt.uconn.edu which produced three musicals

As a parent, you can provide these activities on a special day out with you or on a weekend.  You also may find that your childcare facility is taking field trips to expose your child to many of the sights of the area.  Take advantage of these trips for children to grow and be enriched.  Make sure you talk about the events after the child returns home – providing those enriching conversations.

I’d love to hear about the enrichment activities that are stimulating and exciting for your children.