Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Teaching Kids about Independence Day

For many children, Independence Day is an exciting time to celebrate with fireworks, parades, swimming, and barbecues. Without parents and teachers making an effort to explain why Independence Day is significant, some children may never see it as more than a fun time to wear red, white, and blue. This time of year is a great opportunity to teach children about what makes America different, what Independence Day represents, and what it means to be patriotic.
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Here are some ways that can make this 4th of July have more meaning for your children:

The flag: The next time you see an American flag, point it out to your child and explain why it's important. Help them know it shows we're on the same team as Americans and how to treat the flag with respect. Teach about the symbols and meaning of the different parts of the flag. The 50 stars represent our 50 states. The 13 stripes represent the original 13 British colonies who decided in 1776 that they wanted to live freely and govern themselves rather than be ruled by a king.

The Pledge of Allegiance: Your school-age children have likely recited the Pledge of Allegiance before, but they may not understand what it means. Explain that the pledge means we're making a promise to be loyal (allegiance) to our country, because we can vote for our leaders (republic) and stick together (indivisible) so that everyone can enjoy freedoms (liberty) and be treated fairly (justice). The pledge helps us remember and be grateful that we have special freedoms that many other countries don't have.

National Anthem: At sporting events or while watching the Olympics, children will probably hear The Star-Spangled Banner. Help them understand that it's our country's song and that we show respect to honor America while the song is sung. Teach kids that we stand to face the flag and be silent or sing along with our hands on our hearts. You can also share the story behind the anthem. Francis Scott Key wrote the words during the War of 1812 when he saw the flag still flying after a fierce battle. He wrote the words of the song because the flying flag meant that the country was protected and we still had our freedoms.

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Independence Day: Help kids understand that July 4 is our country's birthday. On July 4, 1776, our country was born! A group of American patriots declared our independence by writing the Declaration of Independence, stating we would rule ourselves instead of being ruled by the King of England and his unfair laws. It was risky and dangerous to rebel against the king of England. He had a powerful military and the American patriots had to continue their battle for freedom during the Revolutionary War. They won the war and set our country on the path to where we are today!

Community involvement: Being a good citizen and working together to keep the community running is another important lesson that kids can learn during this time of year. Help them understand the the importance of voting and why you vote. Depending on your child's age, you can take them to city council meetings, neighborhood gatherings, or the State Legislature and then help them write letters to their elected officials. Volunteering or giving community service as a family is a great way to help send kids a positive message about how we all pitch in as citizens of the United States of America.

Happy Independence Day!

Other Resources:

Monday, June 29, 2015

Fourth of July Crafts and Treats

With the Fourth of July right around the corner, we wanted to share some fun craft and yummy treat ideas. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Good Touch vs Bad Touch: The Communication Skill That Is Sometimes Overlooked

This is a subject that although makes me nervous to think about especially happening to my own child, It makes me even more nervous no to teach my children how to keep their bodies safe. 

How do you do it? 

Its way awkward when you think of having "the talk" with young teens. But a child under the age of 5? How do you even start, so that it doesn't go over their head but also your not terrifying them of the world you want them to explore. 

An article published on KSL titled "A child-friendly way for parents to teach good vs bad touching" talked about a way to approach a child under the age of 5. 

Books are a great way for children to learn, espcially about emiltions. Combine that with coloring and it gives the child an opportunity to learn at their level and also one that gives the parent a way to approach a child in a non-terrifying way. 

Ana Perez a clincal social worker from the Family Support and Treament Center in Taylorsville suggests  parents with younger children (5 and under), utilize a coloring book called "Good Touch Bad Touch,” which is available on the Channing Bete Company's website.

The coloring book walks you and your child through the steps of what to do, what to say and who to tell if they are put in an uncomfortable situation. “It’s important for kids to know police officers are their friends.” 
Perez said. It’s never too early to start the conversation.
“It can be a very intimidating conversation for some, but it is important that their children are and that they start building their communication with their children at a young age.”
Its a precious gift when we gain the trust of the tiniest persons in this world and it is our job as adults to not only be aware of our surroundings but help teach our children this communication skill. 

How do I find a Good Touch/Bad Touch program?
The Family Support and Treatment Center in Cache County offers the Good-Touch/Bad-Touch nationally acclaimed body safety program. 

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What are ways that you as a parent/caregiver helped a young child start the conversation ? 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Container Gardens

Growing an edible garden can be a great activity for kids this summer! A home garden lets your family eat local, know where your food is coming from, eat healthy, and save money. Plus, kids are more likely to eat vegetables if they come from their own garden! Not all families have the space, time, or soil quality to create a large garden in the backyard. Container gardening is a great alternative that allows kids to have their own small space to care for.

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Barrels, buckets, hanging baskets, clay pots...choose a fun container! Decide on a container that will match the amount of depth and soil needed for the plants you'll be growing. Avoid containers that could have previously held harmful chemicals. Find containers that have holes for drainage or make a few holes near the bottom to allow water to run out. You can put a saucer under the container to catch water, just empty it regularly.

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Planting seeds

Let your child choose what to grow and what they will eat! Sugar snap peas, sweet cherry tomatoes, potatoes, and carrots are usually easy to grow, but you can try any vegetable your child wants to grow. Look at seed packets to learn the best times to plant different crops.

Caring for the garden

Start with a mixed blend of potting soil. Add nutrients to your container garden with commercial fertilizer or compost materials. Teach kids to keep the soil evenly moist by watering frequently. Let them pinch off dry leaves to make room for healthy buds. Kids love to track the progress of their growing plants by measuring plant height and counting new leaves.

Enjoy harvesting and eating your edible garden!

For more ideas about involving kids in gardening, try these resources:

Start a Container Garden with your Family
Easy Foods Kids Can Grow in the Garden
Growing Edibles in Containers
Gardening with Kids
Create an Edible Container Garden with Kids

Friday, June 19, 2015

Thank You Dads

Let's be honest, being a father is no part-time job, it requires love, attention, and work 24-hours a day 7-days a week. Dads don't get enough credit for all that they do (I don't think any parent does). Our team recently came across a great site called The Daily Dad  that recognizes dads for all the good work they do. They have dadvice, a blog dedicated to dads, and a page featuring dads for a job well done. I would like to join them in recognizing all the good that dads do.

I may be biased, but I have one of the greatest dads out there.  For twenty-one years he's been my daddy. He's coached my soccer teams, read me stories, and cleaned up when I've been sick no matter the time of day. He has taught me everything, from how to ride a bike to how to write a resume. He has loved and served unconditionally, and for that I am grateful. He has been so patient (and still is) even through the dramatic outbursts of his four daughters. Whether it was bringing me a drink the middle of the night or driving down to my freshman apartment to bring me pint of Ben & Jerry's during a rough week, he's always been there for me.

Being a dad is tough, and I know I haven't made it easier, but I'm so grateful that he continued to give it his best because it has meant the world to me. Thank you dad for all that you've done!

And thank you to all of the father's out their who do their best to give their families the security and love they need! Keep doing what you are doing and know that you have one of the greatest responsibilities in the world, being a daddy.

Happy Father’s Day!