Do you remember when you were a child and you would use the power of your imagination to transform the world around you? No matter if you were by yourself in your room or with a group of friends, you could turn anywhere or anything into whatever you wanted to. From sitting on a wagon pretending that you were a pirate sailing across the seven seas to imagining the rock in your hand was actually a race car zooming its way to the finish line. A child’s imagination is pretty incredible and this is clear when you watch your young one role-play. While imaginative play is purely for enjoyment in the child’s opinion, did you know that it is also very beneficial to their early childhood education? In this blog post, we will talk about the things that your child is learning when they use their creativity to create a world of their own.
If you are currently looking for a child care center for your kiddo in Cedar Rapids or Blaine, then go ahead and contact Compass Early Learning to schedule a tour or to learn more about our center.
Social skills are so important to your child’s development. If they do not know how to interact with their classmates, teachers, or other people that they encounter, the world can become a pretty difficult and scary thing for them to maneuver through. When they partake in imaginative play with neighbors, friends, or classmates, they are learning how to be around their peers and how to make friends out of strangers. While one kid is a detective and the other is an elusive jewel thief on the run, their minds work together to create the story and figure out where it leads. This will help them to realize that making friends isn’t such a frightening thing after all and is actually really easy!
If you just sit in the area of a child role-playing, you will not only hear words and phrases that you didn’t realize that they know, but you will also see how their mind is developing and enhancing their storytelling abilities. Imaginative play is great for your young one’s language skills and will also help them understand the difference between the written language and the spoken one.
It doesn’t matter if you are an artist or an accountant, being creative is important for everyone in our day-to-day lives. It’s incredibly beneficial to encourage your child to be as creative as possible right from the get-go and one way that they can do this is through imaginative play.
Surprisingly enough, role-playing is actually very good for their problem-solving abilities. While they are trying to figure out which world they will be living in, whether it be one of superheroes or aliens, they have to piece everything together. What are these superheroes’ powers? What do the aliens look like, and if they aren’t friendly, how are they going to save the earth? The child must also use their minds to figure out the props and costumes. All of this, in its own way, is a great example of problem-solving which they will use all throughout their lives. And hey, if aliens do invade earth, maybe they can help!
As you can see, imaginative play is so much more than just a good time for your young one. It provides them with cognitive skills that will carry on throughout their lives. That’s why here at Compass Early Learning, we make sure that it is a part of our curriculum because we believe that their creativity is just as important for them as learning math or science. If you would like to learn more about our childcare center and how we can help with your kiddo’s early childhood development, give us a call today.
Early childhood education may just seem like art and activities, but in reality, your kiddo is learning a lot, both about themselves, others, and the world around them! It may not seem like it, but preschool offers all sorts of opportunities for your child to develop and grow into themselves. Early childhood education offers physical development, social development, emotional development, cognitive development, and literacy development. Your child’s first few years of school are filled with wondrous moments that shape them more than you would know! There is an intense amount of brainwork going on and you may only witness some of it while they are home! At Compass Early Learning in Coon Rapids and Blaine, we aim to foster and support your child’s creativity and learning through our early learning programs, like S.T.E.M., art, and music and movement. Enroll with us today and expose your child to the world of endless learning and fun!
Building Their Social Skills
Yes, your child does learn to socialize while they are at home, but it is essential that they learn to socialize in a safe environment outside of the home as well. Introducing them to other children will allow them to build friendships, which helps children overcome shyness and gain self-confidence. Social interactions also teach your kiddo how to get along with other children and gives them some insight into how to play with other kids and respect their space. Social development will help build your child’s social skills, language, and even conflict resolution. Positive interactions with other children help them explore skills and other interests, leading them to build a healthy view of themselves. They also learn how to work with others, which is a skill that will follow them into their professional lives.
Experience Is The Best Teacher
As children are exposed to environments outside of their home, they are able to think more complexly, making decisions, and solving problems that would otherwise not present themselves. The classroom is a unique place for children to reflect on and use information that helps them understand the world they live in. As they explore new situations, experiences, and environments, children’s minds are more lively and imaginative. Teachers help to balance this stimulation by asking them to listen, follow directions, and participate in group tasks, building the critical skill of concentration. By making their environment somewhat challenging, the teacher is encouraging students to learn through first-hand experiences that help build coping mechanisms for the greater challenges they will face in life. They will learn how to better handle their emotions and themselves.
An Excitement For Learning
When your kid is surrounded by a stimulating classroom that supports creativity, music, art, and the sciences, they are excited to continue their educational journey, opting to take a positive perspective on new learning experiences. Compass Early Learning helps kids develop an enthusiastic thirst for lifelong learning by providing programs like S.T.E.M., Music and Movement, Art, and Dramatic Play. Each program inspires your child to approach school and learning with eagerness, ready to re-discover their love for education every day they are with us! All of our educators are trained in identifying where children need the most support, which is why our programs create a holistic perspective that will help your kid flourish, preparing them for a lifetime of learning.
Exercising Their Minds And Bodies
As stated previously, early childhood education is essential for working out their minds, but it is just as important for their bodies! Our teachers offer various physical activities that will encourage your child to move their body, which supports motor skills and healthy bones and muscles. Whether it is indoors or outdoors, children can run, jump, climb, throw, and catch, expanding their physical abilities and inspiring them to continue an active lifestyle as they grow older!
At Compass Early Learning, we are inspired to inspire your kids! Every moment of their lives is a moment that they will learn from, which is why it is our goal to expand their horizons and optimize their potential. Their lives are just beginning and the world is opening up for them. Don’t let them get lost, enroll them in Compass Early Learning today! We specialize in infant care, daycare, toddler child care, and preschool. Schedule a tour with us at our Coon Rapids or Blaine locations today!
Fostering a creative child has more benefits than you might know about. Not only does it help them mature mentally, emotionally, and socially, but it helps your child develop social skills and decision-making skills. As your child grows older, society’s structure and pressures can hinder a lot of their imaginative expressions, so it is essential that your child uses their creativity to establish confidence, independence, self-reliance, self-esteem, spontaneity, and more. At Compass Early Learning, we strive to help your child find and develop their creative side through our early childhood education. Our Preschool Adventures offers a holistic curriculum that will not only encourage life-long learning, but will engage your child in creative exploration! Contact us today to schedule a tour or find out more about our preschool classrooms and infant care.
Create A Space For Creative Engagement
Designating a space where your child can explore their creativity is important. Not only does it keep the rest of your house a little cleaner, but allowing your child to have a corner or even a portion of the living room to play dress up, play with LEGOs, or simply draw, will allow them to feel power over the space. Creativity can flourish even in the most cramped places, so when children feel like they have the resources and the space to be themselves and explore their ideas, you can expect their freedom and autonomy to flourish as well.
Invest In Open-Ended Toys
Open-ended toys, like stuffed animals, LEGOs, building blocks, and anything else that can be used in a multitude of ways will help foster your child’s creative side. LEGOs can be built and rebuilt into castles, cars, homes, giant people — whatever your child desires in that moment! Stuffed animals become more than just stuffed animals when they are signing the Declaration of Independence, or saving a planet in a different solar system from intergalactic warfare. The opportunities really are limitless with these open-ended toys.
Give Them Free Time
Structured creative endeavors, like art class or dance class, help to build your child’s creativity in a methodical way. They do not, however, give your child the creative room they need to breathe and really be themselves. Kiddos need the freedom and the time to explore their thoughts and imagination at a pace or location that isn’t being controlled. Allow your kid a few hours at home without any activities scheduled so they can play and putter around. You can even let them activate their senses by taking them to the library, to a museum, or just take them outdoors and let them explore. In any of these places, they can imagine traveling to faraway places or meeting imaginary friends that will help them on a secret adventure.
Offer Feedback And Not Criticism
Criticism comes when you try to manage or overparenting dampens the ability to be creative. Don’t hover over your child and constrain them externally — by telling them to color inside the lines, so to speak — because it can also reduce their flexibility with creative thinking. Embrace their creations and their imaginative thoughts by asking them questions about it. Kids have their own thought processes, so if we can’t understand what they’re trying to communicate, it helps to just ask! It shows greater interest and helps you understand what’s happening inside their minds. Celebrate their ideas by voluntarily asking to hear them. It shows kids that ideas aren’t scary and neither is offering your opinion.
Fostering a creative environment for your children is a great way to instill the skills and mindset your kiddo’s need to feel confident and prepared to take on the world around them! You are helping them acquire the knowledge that they will take into the future with them, helping to build a rich and fulfilling life. More than that, however, it helps make your home more fun. Exploring our imaginations is something we can all benefit from! To learn more about Compass Early Learning, or to schedule a tour, contact us today!
From the moment that your little one uttered out their first word, even if they said ‘dada’ instead of ‘mama’, or visa versa, you couldn’t wait for the next word, sentence, or full-blown story. It is such an exciting time to watch your child soak in the words that they hear and begin to understand how to use them and express their feelings and personality. Language development is, of course, incredibly important during your child’s young age, and parents play a pivotal role in helping them advance their skills. In this blog post, we will provide you with a few activities and ways in which you can help them during their journey. You can rest assured that Compass Child Care will provide assistance as well!
We are proud to offer the best early childhood education in Blaine and Coon Rapids in a fun and safe environment for our students! If you would like to learn more about the curriculum that we offer such as STEM, art, dramatic play, and more, or are looking to enroll your kiddo, then feel free to contact us today!
For the real little ones that are just learning how to speak, and even those that are starting to get a grasp on it, it’s really important that you keep the conversation going. This can be as easy as narrating the activities you guys are doing each day. Explain the steps that go into making breakfast, point at things like street signs and explain their meaning, make up stories on the go. Anything helps! Also, make sure that you are having conversations with them. As young as they are, a lot of children don’t like to be spoken to as ‘kids’, so ask them about their day, have them talk about their favorite part of their day at child care and what they learned. They’ll love knowing how much you care about them and what is going on in their lives.
Children follow their parents’ lead, so you need to make sure that you are encouraging them to work on their language skills. Reading is a huge part of this. In a previous post, we offered some advice on helping your child develop a fascination and love of reading, it is so important! Remember that it is never too early to begin reading to your little ones. Even babies are learning while you read a story to them! Make sure that you take time every day to either read to them or have them read a storybook out to you! To further enhance their language skills, have them explain what the story means to them, what their favorite character is, etc. Visits to the local library are also a great way to boost their interest in reading.
Be Careful With Screen Time
In this day and age, it is pretty impossible to ignore screens. Whether tablets, smart phones, the television, or computers, these devices are everywhere. And children love watching shows or playing games on them. We understand that it will be difficult to avoid, but it is best for your child’s development to have them watch TV or play games sparingly. When you do give them access, make sure that it is educational. There are some wonderful programs and educational games out there, but nothing compared to having them read a book or have an actual conversation!
Enjoying music with your child is not only fun, but is very beneficial to their language development as well. Sing children’s songs with them while driving around town, dance around to their favorite tunes, even encourage them to create their own silly songs! This will also encourage them to pursue the arts and work on their creativity.
In future posts, we’ll cover more ways in which you can help your little one develop their language skills so that they will be better prepared for their classes and also for their future careers! We’ll help them as well! Each and every member of our staff is committed to providing the best care for our students and you can rest assured that they are having a great time when they are with us. Contact us today to learn more about our child care center and the early childhood education that we provide in Blaine and Coon Rapids.
Contrary to what you might think, not all children are born equally creative. Creativity, however, is more than just an inborn talent, which means there are things that you can do as their parent to encourage them to develop this skill. In today’s post, we’ll take a look at six tips you can follow to actively foster creativity in your child.
At Compass Child Care, our passion is to help children learn and grow through fun, engaging, and immersive programming at age-appropriate levels of instruction. Our teachers strive to incorporate activities and lessons that will help your child develop their creativity as they learn. Contact us today to schedule a tour at one of our three locations in Coon Rapids, Blaine, or Isanti.
1. Don’t Provide Answers
Before we dive into this tip, let’s take a moment to clarify that you shouldn’t provide immediate answers when your child asks questions. While the questions aren’t likely to be too tough during the preschool years, it’s a great stage to practice answering their questions with a question. Practice the habit of asking them what they think before you provide an answer. This seemingly small shift will help them cultivate their creative-thinking skills, as well as allow you to help guide their thought processes as you understand their reasoning.
2. Let Them Get Dirty
Unfortunately, many families unconsciously prevent their children from getting dirty. When you think back to your own childhood, however, you may remember that some of the most fun memories involve playing in the rain and mud, digging in the dirt, and more. Not only are you enabling them to use their imagination in different ways, but you will also help them to feel free and happy in a way that they may not when they are aware they need to stay clean.
3. Use “What If?” Questions
What if you could be invisible for an entire day? What if you could fly? What if there were no bugs? As you think about these questions, your imagination begins to work to fill in possibilities. While you may think of more logical answers by virtue of being an adult, imagine some of the answers your child might offer. Try to come up with a “what if?” question once a day or once a week to keep their imagination muscles working. You might just be surprised at some of the fun conversations that result from these questions.
4. Solve A Family Problem Together
A unique way to foster creativity in your child and help them feel like an important part of the family is to ask them to help you solve a family problem. For example, if the living room always seems to be a mess, then you might ask them what can be done about it? Not only will they need to use creative thinking to come up with possible solutions, but they also will feel like a valued member of the family. An added bonus might be that they come up with a great solution to the problem!
5. Go On A Nature Walk
Take a walk with your child and look for items such as rocks, twigs, flowers, and leaves to collect. Be sure to bring a bag on the walk to make collection easier. Encourage your child to select just one of each item to ensure that you have a variety of items when you return home. Depending on your child’s age, you can ask them to tell you their observations of each object, create a story with the objects, or trace the shapes on paper as you discuss how they look, feel, and smell.
6. Provide Unstructured Time
While there are many more tips for fostering creativity in your child, one of the best ways you can help is to provide unstructured time for them to play and entertain themself. Whether they play indoors or outside in the backyard, they will be developing the skills that help them to think and see things in a more creative way. Trying to plan activities for every moment of the day is one of the worst things to do if you want to foster a truly creative child. Planned activities are fun, but do not require your child to figure out how to occupy themself. The act of choosing what to do is, in itself, a truly creative accomplishment.
Early Childhood Education
At Compass Child Care, we know that you want your child to be creative and have fun as they learn and grow. We partner with parents to encourage these same skills in our classrooms. If you are looking for a preschool program that immerses children in music, art, science, and more, then contact us today to schedule a free tour at one of our three locations in Coon Rapids, Blaine, or Isanti. We are here and ready to help you foster your child’s creativity and curiosity.
It seems everywhere you go, people are staring at screens. From the grocery store and restaurants to an airplane or car ride, everyone is entertaining themselves on their own electronic devices. While this is a part of the world we live in today, and you can’t hide underneath a bucket, staring at screens at an early age is not ideal for young children, from infants up through teenage years.
Compass Child Care is an early childhood education center that offers infant care up through preschool. We focus on fostering your child’s creativity and preparing them for their school years though offering innovative and foundational educational programs that your child will not only engage with but will love as well. We have locations in Coon Rapids, Blaine, Isanti, and soon in East Bethel. Below, we’ll go over some of the benefits of outside play. Contact us today for a tour!
BENEFITS OF OUTSIDE PLAY
Everyone is aware that obesity, including childhood obesity, is a problem in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 18.5% of children ages 2-19 are obese in the United States, or about 13.7 million. This is largely due to two factors. One, kids and adults lead a relatively sedentary life in the developed world. From school to work, we spend the majority of the day in front of screens, instead of tilling the fields like 150 years ago. Two, the prevalence of fast food, unhealthy food, and processed food, which was just not available 150 years ago. These foods are full of saturated fats and sugars, all of which our body stores very easily when we consume them in excess.
Outside play is a great way to get kids active and burn calories. From playing games and tag with their friends to playing on the monkey bars at the playground, the outdoors is full of adventures and excitement to keep kids moving and in good health.
Learn About Nature
Nature is overwhelmingly beautiful, even in the harshest of climates. From watching the leaves fall in autumn to watching the snowflakes cover your front yard, nature enriches your mind, brings you peace, and soothes your soul in ways just not possible otherwise. Children can learn about the food web when they see a spider catch an insect, see earthworms decompose the soil and organic matter they eat, and watch birds feed their young in the spring. When children walk in the woods and hear chipmunks, climb a mountain or go on a hike and experience the rocks beneath their feet, or frolic in the ocean blue and taste the salt water on their lips, they learn about the world around them and ultimately their role in this world. They also gain an appreciation for nature and a desire to care for this planet that is their home.
If you’ve ever tried to build a fort yourself, you know it can be quite boring. However, you bring in your friends to help, and soon you are fending off a pirate attack and building lookout points. Compass Child Care notes that outside play fosters socialization opportunities. Plus, it gives kids a chance to discover their strengths. Perhaps a child discovers they can run fast, lift heavy stones, or solve a problem. Outside play offers opportunities for kids to work together, to learn to share and cooperate, and to learn how to treat others. It’s also a place where kids who might not fit in, do fit in and are accepted more readily than in a more structured play environment.
Teaches Life Lessons
Humans learn in many ways, one of which is by trying and failing. Nature offers a lot of opportunities for kids to try new things and take risks. This is a skill that is crucial to learn as a child that can be translated over as an adult. For example, all of the greatest inventions were preceded by failures and risk taking. For example, if Bill Gates hadn’t quite Harvard, would Microsoft exist today? Many thought he was crazy at the time, but he has made our world infinitely easier to live in. In nature, you can climb a tree to try to reach the highest branch, climb a mountain to reach the pinnacle, or cross a stream on a tree, balancing the entire way. Kids may succeed or may fail, but it is guaranteed they will learn from it and be a better person because of it.
Improves Overall Health And Well-Being
Compass Child Care notes that when kids engage in outside play, they are exposed to the sun. Our bodies need the sun in order to make vitamin D, which helps our bodies have strong bones and a healthy immune system. The sun also improves our mood and helps our circadian rhythm, or our sleep cycle. For children, getting enough sleep is crucial to their overall development and growth. Plus, outside kids can breath fresh air and release stress through play.
CHOOSE COMPASS CHILD CARE FOR YOUR CHILD’S EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION
Compass Child Care takes a holistic approach to your child’s education, beginning from infancy through the preschool years. Every child receives age-appropriate curriculum designed specifically to give them the skills they will need to be successful in the future. We teach music, movement, art and fine motor skills, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), dramatic and imaginative play, and promote social and sensory skills. Children at this age are sponges, soaking up everything around them, and our mission is to expose them to as much learning as possible.
Compass Child Care offers many locations to better serve your needs, including Coon Rapids, Blaine, Isanti, and soon East Bethel. We choose early learning activities that build upon one another as your child moves through our early childhood programs. We focus on language development as infants and toddlers and carry this through early literacy programs as a preschooler. We want to positively shape your child’s learning and give them the skills to overcome challenges, all while giving your child the free time (including outside play) to begin to discover themselves and truths about the world around them.
Every day we strive to foster positive self-esteem, provide opportunities for creative expression, and stimulate cognitive problem-solving. Our innovative STEM program focuses on introducing your child to the fundamental concepts of science, technology, engineering, and math from an early age with the goal of making sure your child is comfortable with these concepts as they move forward in their school years. From learning to sharing and responsibilities like cleaning up to conflict resolution, your child’s days at Compass Child Care will be full, fun, and exciting. Contact us today for enrollment information or to take a tour!
Math is so important in life. If your child can understand math and enjoys math, there are so many career opportunities open to them because of it, from engineering to computer science. Math is a foundation in many jobs and careers, so even the most basic understanding of math is essential for life.
Compass Child Care understands the importance of building a solid foundation in math. We incorporate math at all levels of our infant, toddler, and preschool programs, including using STEM education, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Below, we’ll offer up tips on how you can encourage your child to learn math. Contact us today to learn more!
TIPS TO ENCOURAGE YOUR CHILD TO LEARN MATH
Incorporate Math Activities Into Your Daily Living
Math is such a part of our daily lives that many of us probably don’t even realize we are using math. For example, you use math when you calculate your checkbook, go to the grocery store, look at the time, bake cookies, and so much more. When you are encouraging your child to learn math, you can help them by using math on a daily basis as it comes up naturally. For example, ask your child to bake with you and have them measure out the ingredients. Have them count how many cows you pass as you are driving into town, or if you live in the city, how many trees they see. You can begin a building project where they will need to count, add, and even multiply building materials. There are so many different ways we use math on a daily basis that just doing these on a daily basis with your child can encourage them in math.
Play Math Games
There are an abundance of fun math games that you can play with your child that they won’t even know that they are learning math. From chess and dominoes to Monopoly and Yahtzee, math is used in these games in a fun, engaging way. You can even utilize alloted screen time for math games on the computer. If your child is going to play on the computer, you might as well have it be educational. Math games on the computer are interactive and exciting, and some are progressive, meaning they will challenge your child in math as they become more accomplished. By encouraging math games, you are encouraging the learning and processing of math.
Read Math Books
Compass Child Care is, of course, not talking about actual math textbooks here. We’re referring to story books that incorporate math in a way that kids can learn about math. There are many counting books, as well as story books that teach kids math in a fun, dynamic way. Examples include Sir Cumference and the First Round Table, The Boy Who Loved Math, and How Much is a Million?
It’s possible you may even have memories of playing store as a child. Giving kids an early idea of how math and elementary economics work will only serve them in the long run (plus, as a parent, this lesson could be life-saving for when you take your child with you to the grocery store and all they do is ask for items!). Playing store will teach your child how to count, how to add and subtract, how money works, and simple problem solving skills. Depending on the age of the child, you can throw in other lessons as well, such as what happens when you run out of money, how debt works, and the like. Kids can spend hours playing store, and it’s a great opportunity to add in socialization skills as kids can easily play this with their friends.
Observe The World Around You
Another great way to incorporate math into your child’s learning is by looking for shapes, which is the foundation of geometry in the upper levels of math. Everywhere you go, including in your home, there are shapes. You can keep it simple, from round balls or go more complex, such as the octagon shape of a stop sign. When you buy your child ice cream, talk about the cone it comes in and notice the shape of buildings as you walk by. When you cut something up for them to eat, such as a pizza, what shapes are you making?
WHY CHOOSE COMPASS CHILD CARE FOR YOUR CHILD’S INFANT THROUGH PRESCHOOL NEEDS
Many people think math is hard, but it’s not; it’s everywhere in our society. The problem lies in the fact that when people think of math, they think of it in terms of upper levels of math such as Calculus. However, for your child, teaching the basics in a fun, engaging way can be life-changing. Who knows? Your child may grow up to be an engineer, an astronaut, or a computer programmer — all because of your encouragement of math.
Compass Child Care is a top-notch early childhood education school that offers programs from infants through preschool. We have many locations throughout Minnesota to better serve you, including Coon Rapids, Blaine, Isanti, and soon-to-open East Bethel. Our early childhood education programs are tailored for each age group, with an emphasis on helping your child to not only grow, but also for them to discover themselves. From art and music to STEM activities and outside play, we believe in helping foster your child’s growth in all areas, including mentally and physically. Connect with us today to get started!
Raising a child is a truly beautiful experience, but a singular one to each and every parent. There are great moments but there are also frustrating ones — when you leave the room, your toddler may cry out for attention, or pull the book you’re reading from your hands so you can play with them. While this behavior can illicit irritating responses from parents, it could be because your child hasn’t learned independent play yet and hasn’t learned how to rely more on their own direction.
We often oversee our children’s playtime, so it would make sense that they rely on us for some inspiration. Teaching toddlers to entertain themselves isn’t just about trying to maintain your sanity as a parent, it is essential for them as well. Independent play helps your child develop and foster creativity, critical thinking skills, and confidence. Letting your toddler take charge of their own amusement gives them a much-needed opportunity to explore on their own, and it gives you some much needed time to do your own things as well.
Keep reading to find out why encouraging your child to participate in independent play has advantages for you and them! For more information about our early childhood education center in Coon Rapids, Each Bethel, Isanti, and Blaine, contact Compass Child Care today.
First, Let’s Define It
Independent playtime is a daily schedule where your child plays without parents or siblings around to tell them what to do or how to do it. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t provide the right space and the right toys, rather, it means that monitoring their play and controlling their actions isn’t allowing the unstructured playtime they need. Furthermore, this also doesn’t mean that you need to leave the room, as your child may not immerse themselves in their play unless they feel secure that their caregiver is within earshot or sight.
The idea isn’t that your children should be alone, it’s that their playing should. Their play can be in a safe space where the child doesn’t feel isolated or banished. You can choose the time of the day that works best for you and your child, and play can happen in a room in your house or in your backyard. If it is in a room, be sure that all dressers are bolted to the wall and electrical cords are out of reach. The last thing you want is your child getting hurt during their unstructured playtime!
Try To Resist Overpowering Their Play
When you do want to play with your child, remember that you are the assistant and your child is the director. Do not send them the message that your ideas are better, that you can teach them, or that you can make it more fun. Try to resist the urge to lead and instead follow them passively without being disconnected or detached. Allowing them to take the lead helps them understand that they are not reliant on your instruction, rather, they are relying on their own. More importantly, they are learning that their ideas are valuable and worth pursuing, and they don’t always need an adult to give them direction.
Make Room For A Mess
Children play and usually end up making a mess with what they are playing with. Messy or tactile play with materials like sand, clay, paint, and water is something that many parents avoid because it is inconvenient and hard to clean up. For kids, however, it is soothing to play with these things, not to mention it keeps them preoccupied for a long time. One way to contain the mess is to designate a room or some kind of space for it.
The outdoors is nice because it means less of a liability indoors, but this mess can be safely contained indoors with large trays, buckets, and towels. It could take the form of letting your child play in the bathtub with shaving cream while you get some work done on your laptop sitting next to the tub.
Get The Right Toys Out
A little earlier we stated that letting your child choose their toys is a great part of independent playtime. This is still true, and it is good to have a variety of toys, ranging from difficult to easy, that will keep your child preoccupied for a long time. If the toys are too easy, they will lose focus and get bored. If the toy is too difficult, your child may get frustrated and give up. The same thing could be said about the number of toys you are providing your child with — if there are too many then your child could get overwhelmed. What you can do is stash some toys in a toybox before bringing them back out. After being absent for a period of time, the toys will appear more novel to the child and make them naturally more interesting.
Toys should have the right level of difficulty so they are still challenging but interesting. Open-ended toys like building blocks or toys with movement like a car tracker can be great for children of nearly all ages. These objects can have multiple uses and are great for encouraging solo play because the endless possibility keeps kids entertained for longer.
Lastly, Why It’s Important
Independent play requires a level of self-reliance as well as the ability to focus and develop problem-solving skills. If there is no one else to reach for the toy or re-build a fallen block tower, then the child needs to figure it out themselves and continue building their creations successfully. This helps them manage their emotions and perseverance. When a child plays by themselves, they develop executive function, or the ability to self-regulate their emotions, develop patience, and control their impulses. These are critical to the child’s overall health, development, and future success.
Children are over-scheduled — sometimes they need time to themselves to play and explore on their own. A great time to schedule independent play is while you cook dinner or before their bedtime, setting aside time solely for independent play to emphasize its importance. Giving your child the time to play on their own is important for raising confident, self-sufficient kids who don’t always need external validation or input to be happy or content. It is never too late to start, and is always a great thing for your kid to practice.
Compass Child Care provides early childhood education programs that are geared towards helping your kid expand their creativity, confidence, and problem-solving skills. Take a look at our preschool programs at our locations in Coon Rapids, Each Bethel, Isanti, and Blaine, and to enroll in our early childhood education programs, contact us today.
Growing up, we teach children exactly how to cope with their physical pain. Put a bandaid on a scraped knee and soothe them until the crying stops. Tell them that the pain will only be temporary and they will heal in a certain amount of time. Dealing with emotional pain, or emotions, in general, is less talked about and can be much harder to navigate, especially when children aren’t equipped with the knowledge they need to cope with what they are feeling. Keep reading to find out more about how to help your child cope with their emotions and communicate them effectively. To learn more about our early childhood education opportunities, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.
Don’t Confuse Emotions With Weakness
Some parents can be embarrassed by emotional kids, especially in public places. This is understandable since no one wants to draw attention to their kids or have anyone feel like they don’t have their kids under control. It is crucial to remember however, that it is more than OK for kids to feel emotions, even intense ones. Being emotional doesn’t mean your kid is weak — try to avoid thinking that your child’s emotions have to be fixed.
Teach Your Child About Emotions
It is important to teach your child to recognize and understand their emotions, which can be done by helping your child name their emotions. This can be done by simply saying “You look sad right now,” or “I can tell you’re mad that we can’t go visit grandma.”
Once your child is able to more accurately label how they feel, it can be very helpful to guide them in how to appropriately express their emotions. Hitting you or their sibling isn’t O.K., and neither is screaming in the middle of the grocery store. Acknowledge their feelings, but let them know that they have better choices in expressing how they feel.
Use Logic To Explain How They Feel
Telling your child to calm down or to stop crying isn’t conducive or effective in helping them understand what they feel, nonetheless help them get a hold on their emotions. Demanding your kid be rational when they are expressing themselves irrationally is an effort made in vain. Instead, wait for them to calm down before asking them why they got upset, and investigating what might have triggered them to react the way they did.
Validate Your Child’s Feelings, But Let Them Know That Feelings Go Through Us
Even as an adult, people need their feelings validated. Sometimes, parents can unintentionally minimize their children’s feelings. No matter how they feel, help them put a name to their feelings before showing that you understand how they feel. It can be as simple as saying “I know you’re upset that we aren’t able to go to the park today; I also get upset when I can’t do the things I want to do.”
It is always important to emphasize that emotions are fleeting, and pass through us like waves. While we can’t really choose how we feel, we can decide how to react to those feelings. Emotions won’t last forever, let alone for a few minutes.
If you’re looking for an early childhood education center, Compass Child Care has locations in Coon Rapids, Blaine, East Bethel, or Isanti. Contact us today to learn how to enroll.
If you are like most parents, you are pobably very diligent about taking care of your child, whether you are taking them to doctor’s visits, helping them clean a scrape on their knee, giving them nutritious food for dinner, and helping them with their schoolwork. How often do you consider their mental health, though? A child’s mental health is just as important as their physical health, especially when it comes to dealing with stress, behavior, and academics. Life is hard, and while they may not have the same exposure to life’s difficulties and complexities, children are still affected by external factors.
The Center for Disease Control estimates that 1 in 5 children experience a mental disorder any given year. While not all mental health issues can be prevented, you can take steps to help keep your child as mentally healthy and possible. Keep reading to find out more, and if you are looking up “early childhood education center near me”, you will find that we have convenient locations in East Bethel, Isanti, Blaine, and Coon Rapids.
Take Care Of Your Own Mental Health
One of the most important ways that kids learn is through example. So, it goes to say that if your children see you take care of your own mental health, they too will learn how to maintain good mental health. Modeling good mental health habits also creates a healthier environment for your kid, so they know that it is not only OK to talk about their mental health, but to actively partake in habits that positively maintain it.
It might go without saying, but taking care of your own mental health is especially important given all of the uncertainty around COVID-19 and many other difficult circumstances. Kids look to their parents to know how to deal with stressful and anxiety-provoking situations, so make sure you not only address any mental health issues, but make sure you take time to relax and de-stress.
When parents have untreated mental health issues, children are more likely to develop mental health problems of their own. Untreated mental illness may also make family life inconsistent or unpredictable, affecting your ability to discipline your kids while also straining your relationship with your partner or other family members. This can take a toll on your child’s psychological well-being, and put them at a greater risk of developing mental illness themselves. Research shows that when a parent receives therapy or medication to address mental illness, children’s mental health symptoms also improve.
Show Kids That The Ups And Downs Are Normal
Everyone will experience times of strength and happiness as well of times of hardship and struggle. Life isn’t about being happy all of the time, as a matter of fact, this is an unrealistic perspective on life, and could potentially be harmful for your child. There is no shame in feeling sad or feeling like they are struggling with their emotions because it is a normal part of life. Showing children that yes, what they feel is normal, and that they are allowed to feel certain ways can be hugely powerful in helping them gain an understanding of their mental health.
The Way Kids Think Is Very Important
From a young age, children get constant messages that they may not be good enough. This can come from other kids making fun of how they dress or it could be from a teacher telling them that they didn’t do well on a homework assignment. These negative messages stick with kids, and they repeat them over and over in their thoughts. Negative thinking of the self, others, and the world could lead to future mental health struggles.
It is crucial to pay attention to the comments kids make about themselves and others. If your child is constantly saying negative things, it could mean they need some extra support to problem-solve and change that type of thinking. Practicing negative self-talk is something that we all practice, even though we know we shouldn’t. It leads to lower self-esteem, which contributes to feeling vulnerable and not good enough. Our brain works best by repetition, so by rehearsing painful or mean thoughts, we create negative thinking patterns and it becomes harder and harder to escape from that.
It is vital that we change negative thinking patterns, and this can be done by catching ourselves in the act, actively taking the power of that thought, and replacing it with a new one. While you can’t read your child’s mind, you can help them by asking them to elaborate on a negative thought that they say out loud and helping them replace it with a positive thought. It is a slow process, but one that has remarkable benefits.
Teach Your Child The Language Of Feelings
One of the most important things that you can teach your children is to recognize what they are feeling and how to express their feelings into words. Children are known to be very emotional, but it’s mostly because they don’t know how to accurately express or even identify how they feel. Help your children grow by teaching them the many words for different emotions, and using examples when those feelings arise in themselves and others.
Along with this, teach them that there is no “bad” emotion, not even anger or sadness. Sometimes the actions people take in response to those feelings are bad, but the feelings are never bad themselves. Feelings are powerful, and if we harness ourselves and our children with the tools to understand and listen to them, then we know how to move forward in a productive and appropriate way.
Children who are taught that all feelings except for the happy ones are shameful and negative tend to shut down. They feel as if they cannot explore what they feel or even express it to an adult. Emotional language helps children develop essential emotional skills that help them deal with what they are feeling, as well as have stronger relationships.
Helping children develop their self-esteem can have significant impacts on their mental health. It is important to not only boost your child’s self-esteem, but to teach them how to develop it themselves. From the parent side, this can be done by providing genuine and realistic praise. Try to avoid giving them unrealistic praise like, “You’re the smartest kid in school,” and instead praise their effort on a test or a homework assignment. Exaggerated compliments will only make them feel like they have to live up to exaggerated expectations.
Another way to foster self-esteem is to give them opportunities for independence. Kids often feel better about themselves when they are able to do things on their own. Whether you are teaching your kid how to make a grilled cheese or are letting them complete an age-appropriate task, they build self-confidence and feel good about themselves, especially when they demonstrate competence.
Watch For Red Flags, And Seek Help If Needed
Your child may not be the most confident in their class, some kids may be naturally a little conscious, which is completely fine. But if you begin to notice your child feels overly sad and anxious about normal situations, there could be a problem. A change in mood or behavior that lasts more than two weeks could be something worth looking into. Be on the lookout for issues with concentrating or the inability to sit still. While these issues may subside, it is never a bad idea to seek out professional help.
It may seem like a drastic decision, because c’mon, they’re just a kid, but it is never too early for children to see a mental health provider. Counseling can help improve your child’s mental health, but it can also give you an insight into what they are feeling.
We know this isn’t an easy topic to talk about, but it should be. Your child’s mental health is just as important as yours, and especially during such a volatile time in the world, mental health is one of the key ways we can take care of ourselves. Stay updated on our blogs for news and information about early childhood education. For more information about our programs, or to learn how to enroll, contact our office today.