Posts belonging to Category preschoolers



Preschoolers…Napping…Visual-Spatial Memory

 Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV, recently shared the outcome of a study on preschoolers napping in school.

preschoolersA nap does a preschooler’s body, and mind good. That’s the headline from a brand new study that looked at the value of a classroom nap. Researchers in Massachusetts recruited a group of 40 preschoolers to measure their visual-spatial memory.

All of the preschoolers were asked to play a common game where you look at a grid of pictures and then you have to remember where different pictures are located.

During one testing session, the preschoolers napped for an average of 77 minutes in-between viewing the grid and taking the memory quiz. In another, they were kept awake for the same amount of time.

The preschoolers did a much better job retaining the location of the pictures after they had taken a nap.

The researchers say their findings suggest naps are critical for early learning and they are encouraging educators to develop napping guidelines for young children.

 

Parents Underestimate the Calories in Fast Food Meals

At a recent meeting of the Obesity Society Jason Block, MD, of Harvard Medical School and fellow researchers reported that parents often underestimate the calories their school-age kids are consuming when they eat large meals at fast food restaurants.

caloriesAccording to the study, the average meal purchased  in four New England cities contained 733 calories, and 21% contained more than 1,000 calories, But the parents estimated an average of only 562 calories per meal, with 72% underestimating the actual content. “There was an association between larger meals and larger underestimations, which may hold some promise for menu labeling,” Dr. Block said. He noted that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandates that restaurants with 20 or more locations nationwide post calorie information on their menus.

The researchers found that only 15% of parents saw nutritional information in the restaurants and fewer still (4%) used that information when ordering. “So they may not use it even if it’s more accessible,” Block stated.

Last year at the society’s annual meeting, Dr Block reported that 80% of adolescents in Boston, Springfield, Mass., Providence, R.I., and Hartford, Conn., underestimated the amount of calories their fast food meals contained and 86% did not notice any nutritional information in the restaurants.

In the current study, Block and his colleagues visited 10 restaurants in each of the four cities… three McDonald’s, three Burger King, two Subway, one KFC, and one Wendy’s. Each restaurant was visited six times at dinnertime.

Those participating in the study included parents or legal guardians of children and teens, ages 3 to 15 (mean age 7.9). The analysis included 330 families, representing 45% of those who were approached.

Most of the children (57%) were overweight or obese. The sample was ethnically diverse — 33% black, 30% Hispanic, 19% white, 3% Asian, and 15% other or multiracial.

The researchers collected receipts when the parents left the restaurants and administered a short survey about the calorie content of the meal and awareness and use of the nutritional information. The actual calorie content of the meals was calculated using the receipts and information on the restaurants’ websites.

Many of the parents purchased large meals for their children and most underestimated the calorie content. Nearly one-quarter (24%) underestimated the calorie count by at least 500.

Those who underestimated the daily requirement tended to also underestimate the calories in a meal, a finding that “supports an anchoring statement on menus,” Block said. The federal regulations require that, in addition to calorie information, menus must include an anchoring statement describing the typical daily calorie requirement.

The study was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and by a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholars Seed Grant.

Source: The Obesity Society

 

A Nanny’s Perspective on Managing Preschooler Behavior

In the following post, Roxanne Porter, a freelancer and a regular contributor to www.nannyjobs.org/ shares her perspectives on managing preschooler behavior. Roxanne provides knowledge about nanny services and enjoys writing on nanny related articles.  You can be in touch with her at “r.poter08ATgmail.com”.

behaviorWorking with children for many years, puts a person in the unique position of having witnessed many different types of behavior. One of the most challenging periods in a child’s life for parents is the preschool years. Between the mixture of a desire for independence and the developing sense of self-knowledge, it can be hard for a child of this age to express themselves in an appropriate manner when they are experiencing a strong emotion. Additionally, many children between the ages of three and five years old reach a developmental stage in which they prefer to do things that may be beyond their capabilities.

The following suggestions about managing behavior are provided to help parents of preschoolers take advantage of the knowledge that nannies have gained from years of experience in working with children.

1. Set defined limits-Children of any age need to know what is expected on them. However, too many or overly complicated rules can be confusing. At the preschool level, it is best to stick to a rule for each year of a child’s age. A rule that they should help to clean up after playing is a good one to begin with at first.

2. Use frequent reminders-Young children are only beginning to learn to follow rules. Therefore, it is important for a parent to remember that they may need to hear the same rule over and over again until they learn.

3. Model good behavior-Children are always observing. In order to get a child to perform a desired behavior, such as sharing or cleaning up, a parent should first perform the act in front of the child. This will give them a visual understanding of what good behavior looks like. In many instances, a preschooler will immediately mimic this behavior.

4. Prevent tantrums-Public tantrums are one of the more challenging behaviors that a child can present. Many times, a tantrum occurs when a child becomes overly tired, hungry or bored. Before going out in public, a parent should always make sure that their child’s needs are met. This will help to prevent the frustration that often builds before a tantrum occurs out of a need for release.

5. Make it fun-Many positive behaviors can be taught by parents who use innovative and engaging games. For example, clean-up time can be made fun when a parent plays music or sets a timer. Additionally, a child is more likely to eat their food when they help to prepare parts of it themselves.

Preschool behavior may be uncharted territory for many parents who are surprised by their child’s sudden need for independence. However, by setting clear rules and helping their child to learn them by using fun and soothing techniques, a parent can easily help their child to learn to regulate their behavior so that they can enjoy their experiences together.

 

 

 

30 Blogs for Preschool Activity Ideas

Paul Taylor, provider of the following guest post, is an ex-nanny. Passionate about thought leadership and writing, Paul regularly contributes to various career, social media, public relations, branding, and parenting blogs/websites. She also provides value to nanny service by giving advice on site design as well as the features and functionality to provide more and more value to nannies and families across the U.S. and Canada. She can be available at taylor33.paul@gmail.com.

preschoolEager to learn and filled with curiosity, preschool children can present quite a challenge when it comes to keeping them entertained and out of trouble.

During this stage of their life, children are still learning about the world around them through play and structured activities, and having a variety of activities to keep them engaged and entertained is a must; through the virtual village that is the blogosphere, parents and childcare providers have access to a wealth of educational and entertaining activity ideas. The following 30 blogs prominently feature entries covering such subjects, making them a valuable resource for the adults charged with caring for preschoolers.

Indoor Play

Inclement weather and lack of access to safe and open outdoor play space can leave parents and caregivers scrambling for ways to keep housebound kids from going stir crazy. These activities are all structured around the idea of keeping kids engaged indoors, for times when outdoor play simply isn’t feasible.

Outdoor Play

Research conducted by the Seattle Children’s Research Institute and the University of Washington indicates that many preschool children have few opportunities to engage in supervised outdoor play, which can support creativity, prevent obesity by discouraging sedentary habits, and strengthen developing motor skills. The benefits of getting young children off the couch and into the great outdoors are numerous; here are five blogs with ideas for active and stimulating outdoor play.

Educational Play

Almost any play that a preschooler engages in provides them with hands-on, real-life learning experiences; however, there are some activities that help kids learn important concepts. Bloggers share their ideas for educational activities in the following five links.

Group Play

While keeping a group of preschoolers entertained and getting along can be a struggle, side-by-side and group play are essential for helping kids learn the socializing skills that they’ll carry with them as they get older. Parents and caregivers can keep tantrums and feuds to a minimum by encouraging structured activity during play dates, making the information included in the following five blog entries quite valuable.

Safe Play

During the preschool years, kids are learning safety skills on a large scale, like fire or water safety, and also the basics of safe play in general. Helping pint-sized daredevils learn to play it safe and passing along the basic rules of safety in general can be done through active play, as detailed in these five posts.

Preschool Prep

If your little one is on the verge of beginning a structured preschool program, it’s likely that quite a bit of your energy is dedicated to helping him prepare for this major milestone. From knowing what to expect to perfecting potty training, these five blog entries can help parents and caregivers get a child on the right track and ready for school.

There are a staggering number of blogs on the Internet with a focus on preschool activities and other relevant topics, so don’t stop here! Check the links section in a favorite blog’s sidebar for others that may be similar.

10 Chores Preschoolers Can Do

choresThe following guest post on chores for preschoolers is courtesy of Maria Wells, www.housekeeping.org

Between the ages of three and five children are eager to help out with household chores. Being tasked with chores actually helps children to feel that they are a necessary part of the family, boosts self-esteem, and leaves them feeling more competent and capable than they would if they were not expected to perform any household duties. Establishing a chore routine at a young age also helps parents avoid the mutiny that is sure to accompany a chore regimen instituted when kids are older and less enthusiastic about helping.

In the interest of helping your children establish and maintain good habits in relation to work and helping others, here are ten chores that even preschoolers can do:

  1. Making Their Own Bed – Between the ages of three and five, kids aren’t likely to be the best bed-makers in the world, but they can certainly get the job done. Remember, the object of asking them to make their own bed is to establish the habit and ensure that it becomes part of their routine. When kids get older and their coordination improves, parents can offer instructions for how to do the job perfectly.
  2. Cleaning Up Their Rooms – Your child’s bedroom is her own space, so she should be as responsible as possible for ensuring that it’s maintained. During the preschool years she should be able to put her own toys away, place books back on a low bookshelf, and ensure that any cups or dishes are returned to the kitchen.
  3. Helping to Fold Laundry – Folding socks and t-shirts are simple enough tasks for a preschooler, though they aren’t likely to fold shirts like a retail pro would. As long as items aren’t wadded up and wrinkled, preschoolers should be encouraged to help their parents with the folding of simple laundry items. Towels are an ideal choice for practice, as they have no irregular edges.
  4. Putting Away Their Own Laundry – Clothing items that require hanging should probably still be handled by the taller members of the family, but a preschooler is more than capable of putting her own folded clothing in the appropriate drawer.
  5. Helping to Set the Table – Unbreakable dishes can be entrusted to a preschooler in order for them to set the table, though glasses and china for the adults might be safer in older, steadier hands. Helping to set the table for a family meal helps kids learn the practical skill of setting a table, but also allows them to feel like an integral part of the family meal ritual.
  6. Putting Dishes in the Dishwasher – Preschool-aged kids are able to carry their own dishes from the table, clear them, and put them in the dishwasher. Because dishwasher doors can be a bit heavy and unwieldy for little hands, adults should help by opening the door for them.
  7. Sweeping or Using a Handheld Vacuum Cleaner – Small, kid-sized brooms and dustpans can be found in most department stores and toy stores; with these tools, your preschooler will be able to help you sweep the floor much more easily than she could with a heavy, too-long adult model. Additionally, kids at this age can also usually manage a small, hand-held vacuum cleaner to clean up crumbs.
  8. Checking the Mail – Making a daily trip to the mailbox part of your preschooler’s routine is likely to be his favorite task of the day. However, it’s imperative that parents accompany young children, especially if there’s any danger at all of a child stepping into the street while attempting to access the mailbox. Checking the mail should be a chore that you perform together to ensure your little one’s safety.
  9. Watering Plants – A small watering can that your child is capable of managing creates the opportunity for her to help out with the watering of plants. At the older end of the preschool spectrum, it might be a good idea to introduce a small potted plant that is hers specifically. Remembering to water the plant regularly is essential to its survival, which helps kids understand the responsibility and care of living things that are dependent upon others for their survival.
  10. Caring for Family Pets – By the time your child is a preschooler, she should be able to feed and water the family dog or cat; feeding an exotic pet, like a snake, is almost certainly more than she can handle. Provided that you have a more traditional pet, however, your preschooler is more than capable of ensuring that it has food and water.

Kids at this age will still require supervision and the occasional assistance from an adult when doing chores, though it’s important for adults to wait until a child has asked before lending a hand.

Rather than swooping in and taking over, which leaves kids feeling as if they have failed and are incompetent, you should only help enough to make it possible for your child to continue and complete the task successfully.