Friday, April 17, 2015

Teaching Children the Value of Money

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Growing up, my family didn't have a lot of money.  We didn't have all the best toys and the most fashionable clothes.  During elementary school, I was used to wearing my sisters hand-me-downs.  For me, that was how it was and I didn't know any different.  My parents did all they could to provide for us and we were happy.

For young children, it can be very difficult to understand the cost of goods.  They don't understand the difference between the cost of their favorite treat and their favorite toy.  Children need to learn the value of money at a young age.  Author of Kids and Money: Giving them Savvy to Succeed Financially, Jayne A. Pearl said, "It's actually easy to teach kids about money.  Turn your day-to-day activities into learning experiences."  Teach your children how to identify coins and dollars.  With play money, they can have fun and use their imagination in playing store and restaurant by exchanging goods for money.

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Paul S. Richard (Institute of Consumer Financial Education's Executive Director) shares 18 Ways for Children or Grandchildren to Learn the Value of Money:
  • As soon as children can count, introduce them to money.  Take an active role because repetition and observing others are the two methods they learn by
  • Help children learn the difference between needs, wants and wishes.  This will prepare them for making good spending decisions in the future.
  • Allow young people to make spending decisions, both good and poor, and then encourage a discussion of pros and cons before more spending takes place.
  • When giving children an allowance for income, give the money in denominations that encourages saving.  For example if the amount is $5, give out five $1 bills and encourage at least one be set aside in savings.
To see more of the 18 tips, go here.

Children also need to learn how to save their own money to purchase the things they want.  For a fun activity book for young children to learn from, go here

Monday, April 13, 2015

Fingerpaint Challenge to Celebrate Our Youngest Learners!

Remember the ice bucket challenge? You know, the one where you get ice cold water dumped on you and then you challenge others to participate? Well, get out your fingerpaints and get ready for this next challenge! It’s the “Fingerpaint with a Child” challenge issued by Utah’s higher education institutions.

The challenge is designed to celebrate our youngest learners by letting them participate in playful and creative fingerpainting activities. We’re committing to ensure that every child in Utah experiences the type of  learning environment--at home, at child care, at school, and in the community--that will promote their early learning.

Let’s help the challenge go viral. Their goal is to have 25,000 leaders and citizens in Utah participate. Pull out some fingerpaints or make your own before April 19th. After you complete the challenge, make sure to challenge your family and friends. Share your videos at, on Twitter @uaeyc with #WOYCUTAH or #fingerpaintUT.

I accepted the challenge with these cute kiddos. We made our own fingerpaint using this great tutorial here.

Consider yourself challenged! Let us know how it went!

Friday, April 10, 2015

New Baby + Toddler = Sibling Rivalry?

When my first child was 23 months old we had our second baby. I was thrilled to have two beautiful girls because I just knew they would be best friends.  Things seemed to be going fairly well until one night while I was preparing dinner something went wrong.  I had put the baby in a little infant seat.  Back in the day we didn’t have the incredibly functional mobile car seats that are available now.  We had car seats that stayed in the car and infant seats that were for the house. My infant seat had a hard plastic, single strap seat belt that I neglected to fasten around my baby that night. While I was cooking, when my back was turned, my toddler decided to see what would happen if she put the hard plastic belt into the babies mouth. 

As soon as I heard little baby choking sounds I turned around, grabbed the baby and pulled out the plastic belt all in one swoop.  My toddler just stared at me with her mouth open.  I am sure I also said something brilliant like, “What were you thinking!” in my very loud, upset mommy voice. I know it was not one of my best moments.  Fortunately as it turned out, the baby was fine but my toddler was upset.  She was crying because the baby was crying and I was yelling. She had no idea what was wrong.  In her little 23 month year old brain the white strap looked like it belonged in the baby’s mouth. After I calmed down I explained to my toddler why the baby was choking and told her to never put anything in baby sister’s mouth unless I ask her to do so.  At first I wondered if this was a case of sibling rivalry but after some research and thought I realized that this incident was just a case of a toddler being a toddler.   

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It is important to understand the difference between sibling rivalry and “normal,” age appropriate child behavior. Can toddlers be jealous of a new brother or sister?  You bet. And sibling rivalry can begin as young as 2 years old.  Sometimes feelings of resentment will manifest by regressive behaviors in your toddler.  For example he or she may want to have a bottle even though they have been using a sippy cup for some time.  Your newly potty trained toddler could start to have accidents or could start using “baby talk” after your 2nd child is born.  Your toddler may hit or pinch the baby or try to take the infants blanket away. All these behaviors can result because of sibling rivalry.

The best defense to head off sibling rivalry is a good offense.  According to an article in  Baby Centre, you should tell your toddler about the baby while you are still expecting.  Also, talk about what will happen once the baby is born. Let your toddler help you with whatever baby preparations you can. Involve you toddler in caring for the new baby whenever possible. 
We were able to do this in a unique way.  Every time I had a new baby we would bring home a new soft washable baby doll for our youngest child.  As we fed, changed or bathed our infant our youngest child would feed, change or bathe their new “baby”.  Another way to include your toddler is to let them help you decide what the baby should wear or what toy the baby could play with.  
Above all talk with your toddler about their feelings and let them know you understand.  Let your toddler know how much you love him or her and then spend one on one time with them.  The good news is that most siblings grow out of their rivalries and have strong loving relationships.

What have you found to work with your family?

Monday, April 6, 2015

Expanding Our Statewide Team

Now that Help Me Grow has gone statewide, we want to welcome aboard and introduce you to our newest staff members! Here's a little bit about each of them.

Kali Iverson
 Kali Iverson was born and raised in the small town of Huntsville, Utah. She attended Utah State University, where she graduated quickly with a degree in Family, Consumer, and Human Development. She chose this degree because of a deep desire to support and strengthen families, believing that strong families make for a strong community. Apart from loving the job she now has at Help Me Grow, Kali also enjoys spending time with her family and friends, being outdoors, cooking, and travelling throughout the world. Kali is our Community Liaison in the Salt Lake and surrounding areas.

Amanda Mortenson

My name is Amanda Mortenson and I am the Resource Specialist for Help Me Grow. Originally from Orem, I moved to Logan in 2007 and graduated with my bachelors from Utah State in 2011. I met my husband, Landen, during my time in Cache Valley and we have now been married for 3 years. We are very excited to welcome our baby girl at the end of April. I love to attempt crafts I find on Pinterest, bake, and hang out with my friends and family.

Ilse Dekoeyer-Laros
This February, I joined the Help Me Grow team as a Child Development Specialist. Originally from The Netherlands, I worked with Dr. Alan Fogel in the infancy research lab at the University of Utah Psychology Department, where I studied early mother-child relationships, as well as early self-awareness, emotions, and emotion regulation. Since 2002, I have been teaching at the University of Utah. Teaching became my main profession in 2006 (as our research funding ended) and became one of my passions. I am happy to have just been awarded the Superior Teaching Award of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (CSBS)! My other passion has been to spread awareness and education about the field of Infant Mental Health, as a founding member of the Utah Association for Infant Mental Health (UAIMH), of which I am currently the President. Related to this, I have a desire to help parents so they can help their children develop into happy, healthy, independent individuals who are able to connect well with others. I am excited to be a part of the Help Me Grow team, and to have the opportunity to do more for parents and children in Utah!

Kim Newman
Hi my name is Kim Newman, and I am 26.  I was born and raised in Magna.  I am the youngest of 5 kids.  have 2 brothers, 2 sisters, and they are all married with children. I went to Utah State University (GO AGGIES!!) from 2007-2010, and graduated with a BA in Psychology, with a minor in Spanish. I love to play games of all sorts, my favorite game being Betrayal at House on the Hill.  I enjoy movies, reading, hanging out with friends, cooking/baking, being random and weird, and having fun.  I love traveling, and have been to many States, and several foreign countries, and am excited to go to Europe this summer.

Jen Kuhn
Jen Kuhn is originally from Columbus, Ohio. She attended Brigham Young University and majored in Family Life: Home and Family Living Emphasis. Prior to graduating, she worked as an intern for Help Me Grow Utah. This past year she has worked for Children's Hunger Alliance and United Way of Central Ohio as a Wellness Coordinator. She is passionate about strengthening families and is excited to be a part of the Help Me Grow team again, working in Northern Utah. She enjoys the outdoors, spending time with family and friends, and playing sports.

Jodi West

Jodi West was born and raised in Hyde Park, Utah. She graduated from Utah State University with a degree in Family, Consumer, and Human Development with an emphasis in Family Finance. For the last four years, she has been the Regional Coordinator for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program in Box Elder, Cache, and Rich counties. Jodi is excited to join the Help Me Grow team as the Community Liaison in Southern Utah. With her husband Brady, they look forward to their new adventures in a warmer climate.

Help Me Grow welcomes our newest team members with a big THANK YOU to them, as well as our other staff, including: Barbara Leavitt, Robin Lindsay, Julie Miller, Rebekah Tucker, Andrea Gamarra, Hillary Michael, Cami Olsen. Without these ladies we couldn't serve our great state!

Have questions about child development? Contact us by dailing 2-1-1 and asking for Help Me Grow Utah. Or call us directly at 801-691-5322.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Easter Bunny's on His Way

Easter was always so much fun in my family. When we were little, we used to hunt for Easter eggs out in my front yard. The Easter Bunny filled little plastic eggs with all sorts of fun candy and hid them around our yard. Each egg had a number on it and each child was assigned a number. We were only allowed to pick up the eggs that had our number so everyone got the same number of eggs. The Easter Bunny also hid a chocolate bunny, big Cadbury eggs, and Reese's eggs for each of us, but we had to be quick or they would all melt.

When I got a little older and there were only 2 of us left at home, the Easter Bunny started hiding our Easter Baskets, already filled with candy. She was good at hiding them too! One year I searched for almost an hour until I finally found it in the very back of the food pantry. It also seemed that our baskets got a little healthier as I got older as well; sometimes there would be granola bars and fruit leathers along with the Reese's eggs and jelly beans.

When I left to college I thought my Easter Bunny days would be over, but No! She found me at BYU and secretly sent my Easter Basket to my roommates. They were instructed to hide it really well and have me search for it. It was so much fun and I felt so loved all the way up in Provo away from my family.

Our family loved to decorate Easter Eggs during the day as well. Sometimes we would try new ways of decorating like using a white crayon to draw designs on the egg first and then dying the egg. The white design will show up after! Or we would draw on them after we dyed the eggs with colored crayons. Stickers can be a fun way to spice up your design as well. No matter how we did it, we always had a lot of fun together.

We hope you have a great Easter with your family this year!

What are your Easter traditions? 

Check out our Pinterest board for more fun Easter ideas!