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 chores routine at a young age also helps parents avoid the mutiny that is sure to accompany a chores 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 daily chores 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.

“Can Do” Street Publishes An Enhanced E-book

Enhanced e-book

An enhanced E-book

We  are pleased to announce publishing “Can Santa Find Me on Christmas?”, which is our first enhanced e-book for young readers. It  features animation, narration, and text highlighting to engage and assist emerging readers in developing independent reading skills.

In our enhanced e-book, Santa goes digital, using modern day solutions for the age-old worry of children away from home on Christmas. In “Can Santa Find Me on Christmas?” the “Can Do” Kids learn how Santa will deliver their gifts to them wherever they are.

In the beginning of our enhanced e-book, the reader is offered the choice of reading the book independently or with the enhancements of animation, narration and text highlighting. Animation is used sparingly to prevent distracting a young reader from listening to the story and identifying each word as it is highlighted.

Each of the 22 pages in the enhanced e-book features the “Can Do” characters in full color illustrations.

You can go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NfNHFw2-9I  to view a YouTube trailer of our enhanced e-book, “Can Santa find Me on Christmas?”. It was published on Nov 30, 2016

Developed for the Apple platform,“Can Santa Find Me on Christmas?” is available on Apple’s iTunes.

Our enhanced e-book is the first of new happenings on”Can Do” Street. There is more to come in  2017…stay tuned!

All the best,

Jean

Do Preschoolers Really Need Structured Exercise Every Day?

If you are the parent or grandparent of a preschooler you’ve got to be thinking no way does my preschooler need structured exercise!

But…the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asks us to consider the rise in overweight children between the ages of two and five years of age. In the late 1970s, about 5% of children between 2 and 5 years old were overweight. Just recently that figure reached nearly 14%,

The National Association for Sport and Physical Education(NASPE) suggests that preschoolers (ages 3 to 5) spend at least 60 minutes a day in total on structured physical exercise that help a preschooler develop motor skills. Children need daily practice to develop motor skills. Preschoolers need an additional 60 minutes on unstructured physical activities. They should not be engaging in more than 60 minutes at a time in sedentary activities unless they are asleep.

The guidelines for toddlers, 12 to 36 months old, are similar with the exception of structured physical activity adding up to 30 minutes a day rather than 60 minutes.

Parents and grandparents make the best teachers of physical exercise and activities. Try playing the following games to make sure your preschooler or toddle meets his or her daily requirements for physical activities:

  • Any kind of tag game
  • Catch with balls that are the proper size and weight for size and age
  • Water activities such as swimming, water exercises and games
  • Riding a tricycle or a scooter
  • Crawling activities
  • Doing jumping jacks
  • Music games and dancing to music
  • Playground jungle gym

NASPE offers a  word of caution… it is best to make these daily activities fun or, as our preschoolers get older structured physical activities may become a turnoff.

Healthy New Year’s Resolutions for Kids

 Adults are not the only ones who can make New Year’s resolutions. Children can be helped to understand the meaning of resolutions, and how and why we make them.

The following New Year tips are from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). They are offered to help parents encourage their children to make healthy resolutions.

resolutionsResolutions for Preschoolers

  • I will clean up my toys and put them where they belong.
  • I will brush my teeth twice a day, and wash my hands after going to the bathroom and before eating.
  • I won’t tease dogs or other pets – even friendly ones. I will avoid being bitten by keeping my fingers and face away from their mouths.
  • I will talk with my parent or a trusted adult when I need help, or am scared.
  • I will be nice to other kids who need a friend or look sad or lonely.

Resolutions for Kids, 5 to 12 years old

  • I will drink reduced-fat milk and water every day, and drink soda and fruit drinks only at special times.
  • I will put on sunscreen before I go outdoors on bright, sunny days. I will try to stay in the shade whenever possible and wear a hat and sunglasses, especially when I’m playing sports.
  • I will try to find a sport (like basketball or soccer) or an activity (like playing tag, jumping rope, dancing or riding my bike) that I like and do it at least three times a week!
  • I will always wear a helmet when riding a bike.
  • I will wear my seat belt every time I get in a car. I’ll sit in the back seat and use a booster seat until I am tall enough to use a lap/shoulder seat belt.
  • I’ll be friendly to kids who may have a hard time making friends by asking them to join activities such as sports or games.
  • I will never encourage or even watch bullying, and will join with others in telling bullies to stop.
  • I’ll never give out private information such as my name, home address, school name or telephone number on the Internet. Also, I’ll never send a picture of myself to someone I chat with on the computer without asking my parent if it is okay.
  • I will try to talk with my parent or a trusted adult when I have a problem or feel stressed.
  • I promise to follow our household rules for video games and internet use.

Resolutions for Kids, 13 years old and older

  • I will try to eat two servings of fruit and two servings of vegetables every day, and I will drink sodas only at special times.
  • I will take care of my body through physical activity and eating the right types and amounts of foods.
  • I will choose non-violent television shows and video games, and I will spend only one to two hours each day – at the most – on these activities.  I promise to follow our household rules for videogames and internet use.
  • I will help out in my community – through giving some of my time to help others, working with community groups or by joining a group that helps people in need.
  • When I feel angry or stressed out, I will take a break and find helpful ways to deal with the stress, such as exercising, reading, writing in a journal or talking about my problem with a parent or friend.
  • When faced with a difficult decision, I will talk about my choices with an adult whom I can trust.
  • When I notice my friends are struggling, being bullied or making risky choices, I will talk with a trusted adult and attempt to find a way that I can help them.
  • I will be careful about whom I choose to date, and always treat the other person with respect and without forcing them to do something or using violence. I will expect to be treated the same way in return.
  • I will resist peer pressure to try tobacco-cigarettes, drugs or alcohol.
  • I agree not to use a cellphone or text message while driving and to always use a seat belt.

 

Healthy Teeth, Healthy Smiles

 The American Academy of Pediatrics identifies tooth decay as the number one dental problem among preschoolers, but it can be prevented. Starting children with good dental habits, from an early age, will help them teethgrow up with healthy teeth and smiles.

 The American Academy of Pediatrics offers the following information on how to care for your child’s teeth from birth to 24 months of age and beyond.

Tooth decay can develop as soon as the first tooth appears. It’s important to care for your child’s baby teeth because they act as placeholders for adult teeth.

If baby teeth are lost too early, the teeth that are left may move and not leave any room for the adult teeth to come in. And tooth decay in baby teeth can be painful and cause health problems like infections, which can at times be life-threatening. It can also lead to teasing and speech development problems.

  • Caring for teeth from birth to 12 months
    • Good dental habits need to begin before the first tooth appears.After feedings, gently brush your baby’s gums using water on a baby toothbrush that has soft bristles. Or wipe them with a clean washcloth.
    • Ask about fluoride. After the first tooth appears, ask your child’s doctor if your baby is getting enough fluoride. Use a just a smear of fluoride toothpaste (or an amount about the size of a grain of rice).
    • Schedule your baby’s well-child visits. During these visits your child’s doctor will check your baby’s mouth.
    • Schedule a dental checkup. If your baby is at high risk for tooth decay, your child’s doctor will recommend that your baby see a dentist.
  • Caring for teeth from 12 to 24 months
    • Brush! Brush your child’s teeth 2 times a day using water on a baby toothbrush that has soft bristles. The best times are after breakfast and before bed.
    • Limit juice. Make sure your child doesn’t drink more than 1 small cup of juice each day and only at mealtimes.
    • Consult with your child’s dentist or doctor about sucking habits. Sucking too strongly on a pacifier, a thumb, or fingers can affect the shape of the mouth and how the top and bottom teeth line up. This is called your child’s “bite.” Ask your child’s dentist or doctor to help you look for changes in your child’s bite and how to help your child ease out of his sucking habit.
    • Schedule a dental checkup. Take your child for a dental checkup if he has not had one.
  • Caring for teeth from 24 months
    • Brush! Help your child brush her teeth 2 times a day with a child-sized toothbrush that has soft bristles. There are brushes designed to address the different needs of children at all ages, ensuring that you can select a toothbrush that is appropriate for your child. Encourage her to brush her teeth on her own. However, to make sure your child’s teeth are clean, you should brush them again.
    • Use fluoride toothpaste. You can start using fluoride toothpaste, which helps prevent cavities. Since the fluoride found in toothpaste is clearly meant to be swished but not swallowed, make sure to help or watch the child while brushing. When she is old enough, tell her to spit out the toothpaste after brushing. Use a pea-sized amount or less and smear the paste into the bristles. Use a smear of fluoride toothpaste on the brush (or an amount about the size of a grain of rice).
    • Floss. You can begin flossing your child’s teeth as soon as 2 teeth touch each other. But not all children need their teeth flossed at this age, so check with your dentist first.
    • Schedule a dental checkup. Take your child for a dental checkup at least once a year.

Teeth Decay

Parents, especially if they have a history of cavities, can pass germs that cause cavities and gum disease if they share food or drinks with their children. Germs can also be spread when parents lick their children’s spoon, fork, or pacifier. This is why it is important for parents to not share food or drinks with their children.

The following are other ways parents can help prevent tooth decay in their babies and children:

  • If you put your child to bed with a bottle, fill it only with water.
  • If your child drinks from a bottle or sippy cup, make sure to fill it only with water when it’s not mealtime.
  • If your child wants a snack, offer a healthy snack like fruits or vegetables. (To avoid choking, make sure anything you give your child is soft, easy to swallow, and cut into small pieces no larger than one-half inch.) Avoid sweet or sticky snacks like candy, cookies, or Fruit Roll-Ups. There is sugar in foods like crackers and chips too. They should only be eaten at mealtime.
  • If your child is thirsty, give him water or milk. If your child drinks milk at bedtime, make sure to clean his teeth afterward. Don’t let your child sip drinks that have sugar and acid, like juices, sports drinks, flavored drinks, lemonade, soda pop, or flavored teas.

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