During this holiday season, everyone can be affected by the added busy-ness and end up getting stressed, especially children. If you see an increase in sibling rivalry, here is an article by English author Emilie Leeks for Hand in Hand Parenting that will offer some helpful insights and suggestions that may actually seem counterintuitive.
"Our 7-year-old's behaviour towards his younger sister can seem quite vicious, much more so than it is towards our youngest child.
He might hit, kick or push her for some very small reason, something as innocuous as she "looked at him." One day, he ended up hitting her for walking past him, even though she was nowhere near him. Apparently, he said, she was "in his way".
My husband got between the two of them but our oldest still managed to reach around to get another hit in. I looked at him as he moved away, and said, "Uh-oh!"
In our house, saying "Uh-oh!" lightly can lead to giggles and chase games if the time is right. Fortunately, I had judged it well on this occasion and he grinned and raced off as I followed.
We ended up on our sofa, doing lots of tumbling about together, punching pillows, and fighting to get out of blankets.
I started by saying, 'If you really want to punch something, let's punch a pillow," and I had fun punching the one he was holding. Then he did the same to me, and the game grew from there.
There was a little incident in the middle of all this where I said or did something a bit silly. He really latched onto that and laughed and laughed hard. At one point, he hit me with a balloon, and I fell about in a very exaggerated way with lots of screams and shouts. He loved that.
In fact, we both had loads of laughs. We were falling about together laughing a lot of the time, which is quite significant to me because I find rough play quite a challenge in itself, and something I've worked on a fair bit in my own Listening Partnerships.
Playing like this, a tool called Playlistening, is something we have been working on with him. Although it can be hard for him to get to laughter, we feel we are really breaking through and understanding much better what it is that gets him going. It was interesting to me that he didn't seem as rough or aggressive as he often can during Playlistening. It was all quite good-natured in fact!
Why Laughter Helps Children's Cooperation and Confidence
Later that day we went swimming. Our oldest is notorious for being the last ready, and for needing constant reminders of what he needs to be doing, but on this day, he was the first one ready - before and after the swim - and before we'd even asked as well!
He also tried some challenging activities by himself in the swimming pool and accepted my suggestions for some tricky things to try.
After the swim, and as soon as he was dry and ready, he offered to give the swimming costumes a rinse, and went off and did it completely independently. He even let his sister tag along to watch.
He showed more flexibility and initiative and was all smiles, laughter, and independence.
Our whole family dynamic has shifted hugely since we started using these Hand in Hand tools - things are so much more peaceful, joyful and calm than they once were. A big part of that has been learning to be more playful, specifically in relation to our eldest, who is autistic. Laughter and play can help bring things back from the brink of his overwhelming feelings and boosts connection between us all as a family.
Why it Works:
Sibling tussles can be really difficult for parents to see - and the conventional view is that we should respond with disapproval, threats of punishment, or other stern actions. However, once we understand that a child who is lashing out is actually feeling stuck - that their emotional brain has some hard feelings to offload - we can start to think about these off-track behaviours in a different way. (You can download our Sibling Rivalry Survival Guide here.)
We might set a warm limit on the behaviour, and then listen to our child's feelings as they 'push' against our limit. But another great way to tackle off-track behaviours is to go playful. This can seem really counter-intuitive at first, but is extremely effective in allowing our children to offload whatever is bothering them, and helping them to move back to their usual clear thinking. We have found playfulness to be a wonderfully useful tool in our belt.
Celebrate being a dad (or uncle, or grandpa...) every month at our Dad and Me outings, held at fun venues around the county!
This month join us at
the 16th annual Children's Holiday Festival!
There will be lots of fun activities for everyone!
Friday, December 8, 5:30-8:00pm. See theFLYER with all the information.
And save the fourth Saturday of each month all next year for more outings held at fun venues around the county - from 10:00am-12:00pm. Story time, a snack and a free book are provided each month!
Stay tuned for a variety of learning and
networking opportunities coming in 2018!
Each month we will be featuring a local child care provider
that is participating in the IMPACT Quality for Kids Program.
My name is Shannon McCrory Puente. I have been in the Early Childhood field for 10 years. I worked for 8 years as an instructional assistant for the Amador County Office of Education with preschool children with developmental delays. In 2014, I officially opened my own Large Family Childcare, "Lil' Explorers Preschool & Daycare," shortly after having my son. I graduated from California State University Sacramento in 2012 with a Bachelor degree in Early Childhood. The IMPACT program has offered so many great resources that not only has benefited my program, but it has helped me grow as a teacher. In 2016, I participated in the My Teaching Partner where I was coached by a mentoring teacher. It really helped me with having deeper and meaningful interactions with my students. It really changed the way I interacted with my students. It showed me how to expand conversations with my little learners that would help develop critical thinking and expand their learning on a deeper level.
Would you like to improve the quality of care you offer to children in your family child care home, preschool setting, or other early learning environment?
Give us a call at First 5 and find out about the many resources (and incentives!) available to you, (209) 257-1092.
Healthy QUICK TIPS of the MONTH
Here are a couple quick, easy, healthy and fun ideas for snack time this month. Just what's needed for this busy holiday season!
Fruit Candy Canes
Alternate slices of strawberry and banana to make the shape of a candy cane on a plate.
Or use slices of red apple to make a candy cane on a plate just by how you position the slices.
Calling all children 0 to 5 years of age.
Join Amador's favorite reading club!
Over 800 Amador kids and counting! Get free books for your children! Sign your child up today and start receiving one free book every month from the Imagination Library! This is a free program, available to all Amador County children aged 0-4 (from birth until their 5th birthday).
The holiday season is upon us: at home, in the workplace, in our communities, classrooms, and far and wide in the media, online, and in neighborhood stores.
This time of year can inspire festive gatherings and activities of joy, togetherness, and heartfelt memories with family and friends. For some, though, the holidays can be a challenging time of stress, adversity, and a difficult trigger of strong emotions, pressures, or traumatic experiences.
Here are some self-care tips to be mindful of for managing the holiday season. With all the hustle and bustle of this time of year, remember to continue to use a trauma informed lens and approach in our lives and work:
Holiday Triggers - The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recommends that service providers assess their own holiday triggers and reflect on what may activate these. When we are aware of our own experiences and reactions to holiday stress, it offers an opportunity for us to regulate, be conscious of our emotions, body language, responses, and its impacts on others (i.e. clients, families, staff, coworkers, etc.) "When we are attuned to our own reactions, we are better able to provide nurture and balance" (Gill, 2014). To facilitate this awareness, try making a list or create a magazine photo collage of holiday triggers or expectations you experience and another list or collage that identifies approaches you can realistically employ to manage them in healthy and proactive ways. Identifying triggers and coping in these creative ways can also be empowering for our clients and help trauma practitioners adapt or change the delivery of activities during this time of year.
Avoid Holiday Activity Overload - Many organizations and programs I have worked for see an increase of requests and interest from volunteer groups with schools, colleges, places of worship, and community projects willing to help out and donate their time during the holidays and for clients in need. This generosity in the form of gifts, holiday parties, donated meals, special outings, and more are wonderful to see, but sometimes there can be a whirlwind of holiday activities and ongoing happenings that can become overwhelming and very deregulating for both staff and clients to handle effectively, which in the end can create more traumatic stress and the inability to cope with what is taking place. It is worth reconsidering and scaling back events and activities to include what is beneficial for the emotional safety and true needs of clients from a trauma focused perspective and inquiry (Volk, 2016).
Be Aware of Common Trauma Reactions and Holiday Impact - Be especially mindful of the impact the holidays can have on well-being and its influence on trauma reactions. The holidays can heighten emotions of loss, loneliness, anxiety, tension, sadness, and much more. Fatigue or poor eating and drinking habits influenced by holiday activities and pressures can take a physical toll. Sensory-based experiences with holiday-inspired music and smells can be painful for some survivors to navigate, as well as past memories, traditions, or loved ones. Trauma informed care recognizes how these experiences can impact a survivor during this season. Create a holiday safety plan for yourself, your staff, and clients (Miller, 2016) that support well-being, recovery, and uses strength-based strategies and aspirational values to assist with coping.
If you are looking for more ideas or to meet the needs of specific populations or issues during the holidays (i.e. veterans, grief, divorce, homelessness, etc.), the resources below offer additional considerations to help manage the holidays with a proactive, practical, and encouraging approach in the spirit of trauma-informed care. Season's greetings for a safe and healthy holiday!
Child maltreatment is a serious and prevalent public health problem in the United States. In fiscal year 2008, U.S. state and local child protective services (CPS) received more than 3 million reports of children being abused or neglected-or about 6 complaints per minute, every day. An estimated 772,000 children were classified by CPS authorities as being maltreated and 1,740 children aged 0 to 17 died from abuse and neglect in 2008.
Published in Child Abuse and Neglect, The International Journal, the study looked at confirmed child maltreatment cases-1,740 fatal and 579,000 non-fatal-for a 12-month period. Findings show each death due to child maltreatment had a lifetime cost of about $1.3 million, almost all of it in money that the child would have earned over a lifetime if he or she had lived. The lifetime cost for each victim of child maltreatment who lived was $210,012, which is comparable to other costly health conditions such as stroke with a lifetime cost per person estimated at $159,846 or type 2 diabetes, which is estimated between $181,000 and $253,000.
A promising array of prevention and response programs have great potential to reduce child maltreatment. Given the substantial economic burden of child maltreatment, the benefits of prevention will likely outweigh the costs for effective programs.
Mini-Grants Now Available!
We are excited to announce that funding is available for Family Strengthening mini-grant proposals for the 2017-18 fiscal year. Mini-grants will be awarded up to $2,000. Funding is provided by the Amador Child Abuse Prevention Council (ACAPC).
Grants are available for qualified organizations and agencies to provide Family Strengthening programs within the County of Amador.
Family Strengthening is the premise that children do well when families do well, and that families do well when they live in supportive communities. Enhancing connections within families, and between families, and the institutions that affect them, result in better outcomes for children and their families.
Mini-Grant applications may be submitted to ACAPC at any time throughout the 2017-18 fiscal year, however grant reviews and awards will occur bi-monthly, suggested application deadline dates are as follows:
Friday, December 29, 2017 - 5:00pm
Wednesday, February 28, 2018 - 5:00pm
Monday, April 30, 2018 - 5:00pm
(Adverse Childhood Experiences)
Join CAPC in creating a county-wide effort to recognize and address the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences(ACEs) in Amador County.
Next meeting: Tuesday, December 12, 3:00-5:00pm. Print flyer HERE.
Light refreshments included.
Free Mandated Reporter Training
The second Thursday of every month, from 10:00am - 12:00pm, the Child Abuse Prevention Council is holding free mandated reporter trainings. Open to parents, child care providers, teachers, the community, staff or colleagues needing a refresher course, or new staff with no previous training, give us a call, (209) 223-5921. For the flyer with all the information, click HERE.
Whatever your special holiday, the holiday season can cause stress in young children. Children respond to stress in their own ways: crying, tantrums, clinging, excessive energy, temporary regression such as thumb sucking and many other ways. These tips can help reduce stressful situations!
Establish predictable routines. Eat regular meals. Make sure that children get enough sleep. Plan for rest times.
Take time to explain the day's activities. Children need to know what is going to happen.
Prepare ahead for a hectic day. Plan for snacks. Quick, take-along snacks such as crackers, veggies, and fruit require no refrigeration and can be shared when shopping lines are long or hunger makes tempers flare.
Slow down. If the family is always rushing, consider cutting back on the number of planned activities or schedule them over several days.
Allow time for children and you to play and move. Most shopping activities are boring to children. Allow them time to use some of their endless energy!
Set a good example yourself. Avoid overextending yourself by trying to do too much. Plan quiet times and "get away" activities for yourself.
Share humor in difficult situations. Take a "step back" and relax. Breathe.
Express positive appreciation for cooperative behavior. Provide LOTS AND LOTS OF HUGS!
Discuss any changes in routine. Plan ahead if you are expecting guests. Put away breakable or "special things." Let your children share in planning how to make your guests comfortable.
Happy and Safe Holidays from all of us at the
Child Abuse Prevention Council!
All children know how they are valued; all families receive the support, education and tools necessary to give every child a safe, healthy, and nurturing home; and a community that actively supports the health, safety, and education of its children.
CAPC is committed to preventing all forms of child abuse in Amador County through community partnerships, free trainings, education, and family-centered events that value children, strengthen families, and engage communities.
Investing in Our Youngest Children
Stay up to date on all the latest news and information for the youngest children in our county! Sign up for First 5 Amador's monthly e-newsletter HERE!
Child Abuse Prevention Council of Amador, Mail: PO Box 815, Jackson, CA 95642,Location: 975 Broadway,Jackson, CA 95642