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Why Play?

Posted on June 8, 2020 at 9:15 AM Comments comments (1110)


The Science Behind Play


Play is one of the key ways in which children learn and develop emotionally, socially, physically, and behaviorally by building self-worth and giving a child a sense of their own abilities. Because play is fun, children often become very absorbed in what they are doing, which helps them develop the ability to concentrate and work through those emotions that are often difficult to express to adults.


The different types of play such as pretend, constructive, and cooperative play builds your child's creativity and imagination, and allows children to relax, heal, by working through their painful experiences, develop social skills such as cooperation, develops motor skills, and teaches self-expression. For example, whether she’s rolling a ball back and forth with a sibling or putting on a costume and imagining she's a superhero—she's developing important social skills such as taking turns, cooperation, and getting along with others. Or whether your child is playing with the doll house on a weekly basis, your child is working through painful issues they are often too painful to express.


Providing such opportunities to engage in different types of play will help your child learn in numerous other ways. Parents are their children’s first and best playmates and therefore have a role in being actively involved in their children’s play. Children are more creative when their parents are involved in their play and the best play occurs when the adult plays alongside the child, reading their cues, and allowing them to take the lead in play, rather than just providing the toys or supervising. Becoming part of a child’s play may take practice but is beneficial for all parties involved!  For more information visit the Association of Play Therapy website: https://www.a4pt.org/


Play Therapy, is a modality of child therapy which is a powerful tool for addressing cognitive, behavioral, and emotional challenges for young children three years old and older.  Young children birth to three often are seen with the parent and child utilizing an approach called dyadic therapy to also help them cope with their emotional and behavioral challenges.  In this approach, the Infant Mental Health Clinician utilizes a relationship based approach that integrates play as a means of modality.  For more information on finding a trained Infant Mental Health Clinician who specializes in the birth to five population in your area, you can contact The Florida Associaiton of Infant Mental Health at:  https://www.faimh.org/




Common Questions Parents Ask

Posted on June 8, 2020 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (5571)

Common Questions

WHEN DO I START GETTING MY CHILD READY FOR KINDERGARTEN?

Children begin learning at birth. All of a child’s early experiences – at home, in childcare, at preschool – help prepare him or her for kindergarten. It is never too late to start preparing your child for kindergarten

HOW CAN I GET MY CHILD READY FOR KINDERGARTEN?

Parents and families are their children’s first and most important teachers! There are many things you can do, starting at birth, to help a child be ready to succeed in school. Everything a child does can be a learning experience! Consider these suggestions:

• Ensure your child has loving, stable, caring relationships,

• Try to read with your child every day,

• Talk with your child throughout the day,

• Take your son or daughter for well-child check-ups at the doctor,

• Provide nutritious meals and make sure your child gets physical activity,

• Take your child to fun events, the library, museums and other places where he or she can keep learning,

• Play with your child - Source

WHAT ARE EARLY LEARNING STANDARDS (OR GUIDELINES) AND HOW DO THEY RELATE TO THE FIVE DOMAINS?

Florida have developed Early Learning Standards to describe, at stages of development from birth to kindergarten entry, what children are expected to learn and master. They are designed as guides to early educators and others involved with young children to better understand child development, support individual children in their development, develop classroom and group activities appropriate to the age and developmental status of children in the classroom or group.hhttps://www.helpmegrowfl.org/" target="_blank">ttps/www.helpmegrowfl.org/

WHAT IF I HAVE A CONCERN ABOUT ONE OR MORE OF MY INFANT OR TODDLER’S DEVELOPMENTAL DOMAINS?

First, have an open and honest conversation with your child’s pediatrician about your concern. He or she may perform a developmental screen (usually a short parent survey) and/or refer your child for a developmental evaluation with Early Childhood Intervention (ECI), a state education program that supports families with children ages 0-3 who may be at risk for a delay or disability. If you don’t feel like the pediatrician has fully addressed your concerns, you can contact ECI directly and make a request for your child to be evaluated. ECI services are free of charge. To find an ECI program near you, please contact 211-Broward or visit website:  https://cliengage.org/public/tools/assessment/understanding-child-development/" target="_blank">https/cliengage.org/public/tools/assessment/understanding-child-development/

HOW DOES STRESS IMPACT SCHOOL READINESS?

Studies have shown that extremely stressful events or prolonged stressful experiences in the earliest years of a child’s life can negatively affect children’s brain development. Stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, can alter brain architecture if constantly activated and can also disrupt children’s ability to master new skills. To learn more about toxic stress and brain development. To learn more about the lifelong impact of early adversity you can contact a local mental health agency that specializes in the birth to five population or The Florida Association of Intant Mental for further information. https://developingchild.harvard.edu/#copy_link" target="_blank">https/developingchild.harvard.edu/#copy_link

IS IT TOO EARLY TO WORK ON STEM (SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING, AND MATH) SKILLS WITH MY TODDLER?

Children start learning STEM skills as early as birth. They are natural explorers of their environment which lends itself to experimenting, questioning and problem-solving. Infants and toddlers are curious about how the world around them works and parents can foster that curiosity by providing STEM activities (e.g. building blocks, number games, water tables, etc.) and helping them learn from natural consequences (e.g. why does a spoon fall when I push it off the table, what happens when it drops to the floor, etc.). https://www.spservicing.com/PartialViews/NewCustomerRegistration" target="_blank">https:/www.spservicing.com/PartialViews/NewCustomerRegistration

WHAT IF MY TODDLER DOESN’T LEARN HIS LETTERS OR NUMBERS BEFORE STARTING PRESCHOOL?

While children can start learning some letters or numbers before entering preschool, many toddlers do not and that is not a reason to be concerned. Early literacy and math development is a gradual process that continues into elementary school and is grounded in early, meaningful interactions with caregivers. To learn more.  https://www.pbs.org/parents/childdevelopmenttracker/two/mathematic.html" target="_blank">https/www.pbs.org/parents/childdevelopmenttracker/two/mathematic.html

I’M NERVOUS ABOUT MY TODDLER STARTING SCHOOL/EARLY LEARNING CENTER. WHAT CAN I DO TO ENSURE A SMOOTH TRANSITION?

Changes and disruption in routine can be hard for children at any age, but especially for children under 3. Start talking to your child about their new school, including the things they will be seeing, and if possible, visit the teacher together before the first day. As your child gets accustomed to their new routine of going to school, it is expected that they will have some easier and some harder days over the first few weeks. That’s OK – continue to support them emotionally and rest assured that these big life transitions take a longer time to smooth over.  https://www.naeyc.org/our-work/families/13-tips-starting-preschool" target="_blank">https/www.naeyc.org/our-work/families/13-tips-starting-preschool

WHY DO SOME CHILDREN SEEM TO BE MORE WILLING TO ENGAGE IN LEARNING THAN OTHERS?

Children’s approach to how they engage with the world is related to temperament.  https://youtu.be/6aRVyWKA" target="_blank">https/youtu.be/6aRVyWKA

 

Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health

Posted on August 25, 2018 at 10:10 AM Comments comments (54)

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Healthy Parent-Child Relationships

Posted on January 10, 2016 at 3:05 PM Comments comments (78)

One has to acknowledge that parenting is a full-time job that does not come with a cook book recipe.  However, as parents, we desire that our children grow up to be healthy and happy adults. This hard work and dedication means being in the presence, enjoying the relationship exchange that takes place, finding pleasure in the play, and being in-tuned to your child's needs. These needs at times become very challenging and complex for mothers who are often challenged by their own emotional struggles.  However, the rewards are great, once parents become aware of the importance of the signifance of the parent-child-relationship.


"Parents often do not realize the power that they have in the dyadic relationship and become helpless at times. However, with encouragement, developmental guidance and education, parents can learn the importance of fostering healthy parent-child relationship, and how this relationship forms the blueprint for future relationships." 

~Dr. Harleen Hutchinson, Infant Mental Health Specialist~