Will your child be ready for kindergarten?

Category Archives: Social/Emotional Development

Happiness and Kids: Helping Kids Be Happy

International Happy Day is not just for adults, it’s for children too. Contrary to what we assume, kids are not automatically happy, without a care in the world, playing all the day long. The world can be very scary and confusing place and children have limited language to tell us what they need. Their time and space to play is increasingly under threat. As parents and caregivers we can influence the happiness of our children.

helping children be happyAccording to Dr. Laura Markham in her book Teaching Your Child the Art of Happiness, happiness is less related to luck and more something we create, a product of our “mental, emotional, and physical habits.” What can we do to help children enjoy happiness?

Feeling happy is an emotion. We can help children learn about emotions by talking about them, reading stories, noticing when they feel different emotions and naming them, making faces in the mirror and guessing what feeling they show, and sharing information about our own emotions. Either our emotions can control us, or we can deal with our emotions. It is critically important that we help children develop the skills to handle their own emotions. We can even sing about them:

If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands…
If you’re angry and you know it, stamp your feet…
If you’re sad and you know it, cry boo hoo…
(Tune: If You’re Happy and You Know It.)
Add any other verses you can think of.

Another study showed the kids who know more about their family history had a greater belief that they could control their world and a higher degree of self-confidence. It was the number one predictor of a child’s emotional well-being. (Drs. Marshall Duke and Robyn Fivush) Share stories about the family and include time to connect with each other, such as eating a meal together.

Physical habits such as eating well, getting a good sleep, and plenty of outside and active time are ones that we can start with kids long before they go to school.

When it comes to mental development, do you know how a child learns best? PLAY. Make sure each day has time for active, imaginary, sensory, and discovery play. This doesn’t require expensive toys and programs. An empty box, a stick, and a pile of dirt are tremendous for play. So are balls, blocks, puzzles, and dolls.

There are two other qualities that are perhaps beyond emotional, mental, and physical levels. These are being grateful and kind. Being thankful allows us to find joy all around. Allowing children to help in the family and community gives them the opportunity to develop and experience the glow of kindness.

Life is challenging no matter our age, even for children. If we help children discover and develop happiness now, they will remember as they grow up. Happy day!
How about you? When are you happy?

Part Ten: To a Child, Love is Spelled T I M E

To a child, love is spelled with the letters T I M E, and as much as they want us to give them time, they also want to give their time to us. Being able to make a difference for someone else, and have it acknowledged and appreciated is a wonderful feeling. Especially for kids, who have the challenge of finding a place in the world and knowing they matter. As parents and caregivers, we would like to protect our kids and give them everything. We need to remember to give them times to show how brave and caring they can be. How do you let your child take care of you?Continue Reading

Helping Children Make Friends

Young children do not view friendship the way that older children and adults too but they are making important and meaningful connections with others. Making friends and figuring out how to be a friend is a challenging learning process for kids. February is Valentine month when love and friendship get extra attention. So that you have lots of time to sing before Valentines, here is a song that can help kids learn friend behaviors…Continue Reading

Why Did the Snowman Cross the Road – Winter Jokes for Kids

One of the best ways to warm up a cold winter day is with some laughter and these winter jokes for kids will brighten up any grey. A sense of humor develops with experiences and it needs some complicated thinking skills. Understanding a joke is even more complex because kids have to carefully listen to all the words and how meanings of words can be unusual. Kids love to laugh. What are some other winter jokes for kids?Continue Reading

An Un-resolution for the New Year for Kids and Families

By mid-January many new year’s resolutions are already hard to keep or some may be broken, so how about an un-resolution for kids and families? If a resolution is hard, then an un-resolution would be easy. Often we forget to recognize our past efforts. Maybe an un-resolution is not something we need to do because it’s already done. And what could be easier than saying thank you and feeling grateful? Celebrating is another aspect of an un-resolution, not just birthdays and special events, but every day. Do you like this un-resolution?Continue Reading

10 New Year’s Resolutions: #9 Chores for Young Children

Often, doing things ourselves is easier than letting kids help, but having kids do a few chores and tasks has tremendous benefits for them on many levels. A new year’s resolution for children could be having them do some chores and tasks on a regular basis. When children are allowed to help, they feel valued and grownup. Having to participate in the some of the work of the family lessens children’s vulnerability and increases their self-reliance. Chores need to be appropriate for the age of kids and the amount of supervision that’s included. Fun can be part of the process…
Continue Reading

10 New Year’s Resolutions with Young Children #7-Being Kind

We all want our children to be smart and do well at school but, more than that, we want them to be happy and responsible, respectful and kind. Helping children learn and practice kindness can be a new year’s resolution that impacts them for a lifetime. There are different approaches that we can use to help children be kind. We need to acknowledge when we see them making an effort to be kind. Can the kindness of children make a difference? Absolutely! How do you help your child be kind?Continue Reading

Dinovember: Dinosaurs, Manners and Magic Words

Before the approaching holiday season goes from busy to even busier, it’s helpful for kids to practice some basic social skills. Even dinosaurs need to learn manners. Integrating Dinovember and the holiday season is easy to do with the book Suppose You Meet A Dinosaur, A First Book of Manners by Judy Sierra and Tim Bowers. It’s also easy to overlook the impact of social skills. Perhaps, if dinosaurs had known some early social skills, they would still be around instead of being extinct?Continue Reading

Dinovember: Dinosaur and Turkey Jokes

Having kids will really develop your sense of humor, but how about children? What are some ways to support the development of their sense of humor? One way to do that is by sharing jokes. A sense of humor is quite a complicated series of thinking skills. Not only is laughing together a way to bond, there are other benefits, physical, mental, and emotional.Continue Reading

Sense of Humor: Apple Jokes for Kids

There’s some serious learning that’s needed for children to develop a sense of humor. In order for something to be understood as funny, the mind has to figure out that something is unusual or different from normal. The next step is to link up to the appropriate emotional response. Then comes getting the right behavior response.Continue Reading

Copyright 2014 Barbara Allisen & 123 Kindergarten