Only 2 weeks till Christmas Check out the arts & crafts section this week for more festive activities the little ones will love!
And to our Jewish friends... the festival of lights is officially underway and we wish you and your families a very happy Hannukah filled with light and love 🕎
As always, we have two useful articles for you this week. The first addresses a very common problem for parents of toddlers - hitting. Read on to find ways to stop it ⬇️
Also, we know it's been a tough year for many of you, so breaking with tradition from the usual toddler-centric articles, Lisa shares some great self-care tips that we can all try out at home.
Enjoy and please hit reply to leave feedback!
— Diana & Richard
Why is it a challenge to stop your toddler from hitting?
The answer that most parents don’t want to hear but is nonetheless true is toddlers hit because it is developmentally appropriate for them to do so.
Toddlers and even most young preschoolers do not have the social-emotional capacity to properly handle strong emotions; even adults sometimes struggle with this.
When children feel joy or excitement, they often shriek or scream; hitting and even biting fall into the same basket; strong emotional reactions for intense feelings.
The best way to stop your child from hitting is to teach them about emotions and why hitting is not ok.
Time out and other punishments will not work because toddlers do not possess the knowledge or the ability to control intense emotions, so punishing them for something out of their control will not affect them.
Teaching why hitting is wrong will achieve much better results. To accomplish this, we need to teach them what appropriate reactions look and sound like.
When a child hits you or another child, pull them aside and say to them, "When you hit mommy, it hurts, and it makes me feel sad and upset. Hitting is not ok." If another child or sibling was hit and comfort the child and show your child how sad they made their friend feel.
Take the time to explore with them why they were mad. Children cannot learn to process emotions if they do not understand why they had them or what they are. You can say to them, "I understand you are mad because I said it is bedtime, but hitting is not ok. What could you do instead of hitting?"
If your child is too young to answer, offer them suggestions such as "When I am mad, I squeeze a pillow," or "Maybe you can stomp your foot 1x when you are mad."
While eventually, they will need to learn that stomping is not the best way for anger; it is a physical action that can help them process those strong emotions without hurting anyone.
Avoid actions such as kicking something or hitting something as those are violent actions. Stomping, squeezing, pulling, clenching, etc., provide sensory input without being associated with violence.
Sensory balls and pull toys are an excellent tool to help a child who is struggling with hitting.
Additionally, you can use dolls or puppets to act out scenarios where one person hits another and display alternatives to hitting. The puppet could say, "I am so mad I feel like I want to hit, but that will hurt my friend, maybe I will jump up and down a few times instead."
Have children role-play together (with fake hitting, of course). Teaching the appropriate actions in moments of calm will help them learn how to use those tools when upset.
Read books with your child. Hands Are Not for Hitting by Martine Agassi is a fantastic resource as it talks about all the things you CAN do with your hands. Other excellent options are No Hitting! by Karen Katz and How Full is Your Bucket by Tom Rath & Mary Reckmeyer.
The last way to decrease hitting is preemptively. Children hit because they are mad or upset. Take notice of when your child hits and figure ways to prevent your child from being in that situation. If they hit when bedtime is announced, start using a timer and a 5-minute warning. If they hit when particular toys are involved in play, buy duplicates to prevent a conflict.
In the end, it is important to remember that hitting is part of a toddler’s behavior, but with these tools and time, you will be able to teach them appropriate ways to handle strong emotions and, in the end, eliminate hitting.
Things we found on the web this week
...and a few more from social media:
5 Self-Care Tips for Parents Working At Home
Parents who work at a home-based job can find it totally consuming, but they still need time to relax and recharge themselves. Contrary to the inner parent guilt-o-meter, taking time out for self-care is not selfish. Developing a regular pattern of self-care simply gives someone the ability to be a better breadwinner, parent and person, and here are 5 simple ways to start.
Carve Out Your Space
We would all love to have a roomy home office, but many of us have space restrictions. However, it is crucial to carve out a particular spot that you call your own for business purposes. Once you designate your workspace, protect it carefully and let the family know it is off limits for anything else.
Relax in a Quiet House
I am a busy mom who works from home, and the day I started getting up before the sun (and the kids), everything started looking brighter. Now, I often rise early (around 4:00 a.m.) and start my day by reading an inspirational book. Then I write, or work on my computer while leisurely sipping a cup of coffee -- and I drink the whole cup before it even gets cold! I have never considered myself a morning person, but now I would not miss this essential me-time. It does take an earlier bedtime to make this work, but it is 100% worth it.
If you worked at a physical office away from home, you would probably make time for breaks, so feel free to do so at home. Resist the temptation to stay at a desk and check your email or phone as part of this essential break time. Stand up and stretch, go for a quick walk, enjoy a snack or interact with your family for a short period of time until your timer says the break is over.
Everyone agrees that sleep is important, but unless we make getting enough sleep a priority, it probably won’t happen. Sleep can minimize stress and prevent disease, and it renews worn out cells and tissues. Any working parent should take hold of this free and powerful daily benefit, so make regular appointments with your pillow and don’t be late. Hard working parents like you need around 7-9 hours of sleep every night.
Moving your body through regular exercise releases happy hormones, relieves stress and promotes better sleep -- and busy parents need all of the above. Exercise can be quick and convenient, with a daily dose of 15-20 minutes, depending on your ability and current health condition. Consider trying a fitness app, a virtual exercise class or a walk around the block.
As a work-at-home parent, take time out for self-care -- without having to leave your house, enter a spa, or join a special club. Add it to your personal radar that regular self-care is a necessity, and choose a few solutions that work for you. Then make self-care a habit... and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
ARTS & CRAFTS
Keep 'em busy with these fun activities
Despite what holiday you celebrate, who does not ️ like a snowman ️ And if snow ️ is not in a forecast, here is a fun counting DIY to reinforce 1:1 correspondence and quantity to numeral association!
Sensory Christmas Tree
Colored pasta and rice is always worth keeping around for fun sensory crafts like this. Just cut out a cardboard christmas tree shape and let your toddler fill it with green rice and pasta decorations! Oh, and if you don't have any already check out how to color pasta here.
Thread the Beads
Here’s an easy one for toddlers and preschoolers! Just a bowl full of play dough, some uncooked spaghetti stuck inside, and wooden beads to thread! Easy to set up, fun to do, and great for fine motor skills! Triple win!
Christmas Tree Cutting Cards
Have your toddler practice their scissor and fine motor skills with these Christmas tree cards. Cut simple triangle “trees” from green construction paper and use a marker to draw the dotted lines of garland on each one.