Parenting Preschoolers: A Starting Place for Social Graces

I decided to share with Simple Kids readers this post by Amanda Morgan of Not Just Cute, which originally appeared in May 2010.  With the start of school just around the corner, I thought many of you would find it helpful or perhaps have some insights to share in the comments. I know this is one of the posts that I personally have found so helpful as a parent of preschoolers. – Kara

From the moment I got this assignment to write about supporting social skills in preschoolers, every time my own preschool-aged boys threw a fit or tackled a playmate, I had to laugh at myself. “And I’m supposed to be an expert on this?”

The truth is the task of teaching our children social skills is a huge job. It’s not something any parent does perfectly, and it’s certainly not something that can be covered in its entirety in one neat and tidy blog post.

Beyond meeting our children’s basic needs, we as parents tend to worry most about their social development. Will they be polite when they play at their friends’ houses? Will they behave appropriately at school? Will they ever stop fighting?

There are a few things to keep in mind as we consider the social development of our children. They are reminders to help us to take a deep breath and respond with a proper perspective.

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Knitting (or Crocheting) Along: Mother Bear

The following post is by editor Kara Fleck.

Last winter I mentioned a cause close to my heart that I wanted to get involved in: The Mother Bear Project.  I pledged to knit a bear in honor of each of my kids.  I have my pattern, a stash of worsted weight yarn, and I”m ready to get started.

The Mother Bear Project

The Mother Bear Project is dedicated to making a difference and bringing comfort to children impacted by AIDS/HIV in emerging nations by giving them a handmade bear.  The bears are knit or crocheted and then given to the children with a tag signed by the crafter who poured his or her love into the stitches.

As a knitter, and as a mother who knows how much her own children are connected to their stuffed animals, I was immediately drawn to the project.  When my kids are sad or scared, they cuddle with their “lovies” and find comfort. Every child deserves to have a bear to love and cuddle – to find comfort.

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Written and Illustrated: Making Books With Your Children

The following post is by contributor Robin Zipporah of The Not-Ever-Still Life.
Every so often my oldest child, almost six, will flip through a pile of papers on the lower shelf of my bedside table. “What bedtime story did you read last night?” she’ll ask.

Those papers are all books that she or her sister have made, and it stands to reason, doesn’t it? that if she chooses a few books from her bedside table to read every night, so do I. I love when she asks that question. I love how integrally we’ve made reading part of the rhythm of our home.

With their innate curiosity and creative problem-solving, children are natural storytellers. In our house, we’ve been capturing our kids’ stories and making books from them for several years. They needn’t be fancy; most of the time our tools are just some paper and crayons. And this is a project you can complete with kids of any age:

For toddlers and preschoolers

Even our earliest talkers have big ideas. When my daughters were very young, I’d interview them with a series of two-choice questions and a few open-ended ones, like this: “do you want to make a story about a princess or a monster? Okay, a monster. A girl monster or boy monster or something else? A boy monster! Does he have one head or more heads? More! How many?” And so on.

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My New Year’s Wish for You

The following is by editor Kara Fleck.

The holiday season brings with it many opportunities for saying thank you.  During this time of year, most of us make a point to show our appreciation for gifts, yes, but also for the kind acts, thoughtfulness, time, and love given to us.

I know that some of you had really a difficult year in 2011.  While I’m so thankful for our sweet baby Mia, 2011 also takes with it some events that I’m glad to see become a part of the past.  My family faced the challenges, learned a few lessons, and now we are ready to move on.

I bet some of you are, too.

I read your emails and your blogs and some of your comments here, and I know that there are people out there hurting and thankful for the fresh start of 2012. 

Many of you suffered losses, faced challenges, and found yourselves and your families in trying circumstances.   My wish is that those of you who are hurting for it, get that fresh start.

And for those of you for who 2011 was a year of great joy and happiness, I hope that 2012 finds you with double the blessings!

Gratitude

In Amanda Soule’s book The Creative Family she talks about The Gratitude Alphabet, a simple exercise where you take a large piece of paper and write down the letters of the alphabet and then think of something you are thankful for for each letter.  A little silly, yes, but as Amanda writes, it … “really does make us feel more aware of how full, loved, and blessed our lives truly are.”

In that spirit, here is my New Year’s Wish for you dear readers, as a thank you for all of the ways you have made writing here at Simple Kids such a blessing to me.

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Home for the Holidays: the Mother Bear Project

As we were planning this year’s Home for the Holidays,  it was important to all of the editors at Simple Living Media to make it about giving in many ways, not just presents and giveaways, though those are wonderful things.

We decided that we wanted to dedicate a day to shine the spotlight on some great organizations doing amazing things for others.  Each editor picked a cause near and dear to her heart and I chose the Mother Bear Project.

Make a Bear. Make a Difference.

I first learned about The Mother Bear Project through some of the knitting podcasts that I listen to.  Last fall many of the podcasters had a knit-a-long, making bears to donate to the charity and I was intrigued.

As a knitter, the act of knitting brings me comfort, and my hope is that the knitted items I make for my family and friends bring them comfort and joy, too.

But I loved the idea of knitting projects being made to bring comfort to people I don”t know, will never even meet, but who have a need that I can fulfill – a way to reach out and make a difference, one stitch at a time.  I knew I had to find out more about this organization.

The Mother Bear Project is dedicated to making a difference and bringing comfort to children impacted by AIDS/HIV in emerging nations by giving them a handmade bear.  The bears are knit or crocheted and then given to the children with a tag signed by the crafter who poured his or her love into the stitches.

As a knitter, and as a mother who knows how much her own children are connected to their stuffed animals, I was immediately drawn to the project.  When my kids are sad or scared, they cuddle with their “lovies” and find comfort. Every child deserves to have a bear to love and cuddle – to find comfort.

I can”t imagine the hardships and heartaches children impacted by AIDS and HIV face, but I only have to look at the faces of my own kids to know that I need to be involved in making a difference.

To date, the Mother Bear Project has made 69,200 bears. I would love to see Simple Kids readers push that close to the 70,000 mark – and together I think we could do it!

There are lots of ways to get involved with The Mother Bear Project, even if you can”t knit a stitch.

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