Baby, Christmas, gifts, grandparents, Holidays, Parenting, Preschool, presents, Toddler, traveling

Traveling with a Baby (Toddler) at Holiday Time: 18 Best Distractions & Techniques

Photo by Carl Figuracion on Unsplash

All parents have been there. You have a distance to go, either in the car or on the airplane or a train.  And you are traveling with a baby or a squirmy toddler. 

How do you leverage things to avoid a complete disaster?

First and foremost, accept the fact that it won’t be an easy gig. Even the most accomplished and well-prepared adults shiver with dread in this type of situation. But there are some things you can do to manage the situation.

It is a well-established fact that toddlers are happiest when engaged, so while you are planning your trip, you need to make some contingency plans. Most likely, you want some easy to carry activities, won’t be messy, and are not noisy. Take a look at these suggestions to see what will work for you.

Busy Books: There are all sorts of busy books for many different levels of development. “What is a busy book?” you query.  It is a book that has an exciting toddler or baby level activities built-in. Many busy books are self-contained and do not have any parts that could wander off. Some of the activities may include tying shoelaces, fastening belts, or zipping up zippers.

These everyday items fascinate toddlers as they are just learning to master all of these closures. However, busy books can be on almost any topic. And some are even simple enough for an older baby to enjoy.

Technology: If your child loves stories, songs, and other activities using touchpads, you might consider loading some age-appropriate distraction. It is also helpful if you can convince your toddler to wear earphones, so the annoying, repetitive music is heard by your child and no other adult sitting in close range. This model comes with a 2-year warranty against breakage.

Finger Puppets: These amazing little items are easily stored in a pocket, ready for action. But they can lead to many minutes of story time or independent play. Sometimes you can find sets on a certain theme such as the nativity, sharks, or people. This 20 piece set will seem new each time you select 1 or 2 to play with.

Busy Boards: These are usually somewhat larger and heavier than busy books, but they can fascinate some mini engineers for a long time as they try to open doors, use keys to unlock locks, or slide a blot to see inside a cupboard. There are many different versions from which to select.

Coloring: Personally, this option never worked for me as I had a very active toddler who loved building things. But I see many young kids fascinated with crayons, coloring books, and even plain paper. Start with a few colors and then trade the colors to add more interest. Sometimes a special book, such as a Christmas tale, will keep your toddler mesmerized.

Puzzles: These work well as long as there are not too many pieces to lose. Often the puzzle pieces are single objects that can be used in creative play. A puzzle with different vehicles can give many minutes of joy as your LO decides to play with each piece as if it were a toy.

Reusable Sticker Books: Sticker books are always a huge success. They are easy to use and build delightful scenes. You can find a range of topics to tickle the fancy of your precious. Even my craft despising son could be amused with the right sticker book. There are some on holiday themes.

Fidgets or Sensory Toys:  These are items that have been invented to catch anyone’s attention. You may have to experiment with which one is right for your child. Do they like the lava lamp imitation, or are they more interested in a fidget with moving parts? Are they likely to chew on the toy? Some fidgets suit that purpose as well.

A Harness: Really? Absolutely!  Parents find it useful, especially if your toddler is a wanderer. Your wanderer can have some freedom of movement, but you are tethered to your explorer to keep them safe. Just ignore any stares from the disapproving adults. They either have not had a toddler out in this situation, or they have forgotten how difficult it can be to contain the wandering spirit with grace.

Cuddly Stuffed Toy:  And if your toddler becomes sleepy, it is always great to have a friend to settle down with. This bear is made for sleep. Not only is it cuddly, but it plays soothing sounds, lullaby and has a mini light show for your young child. You will want to use this some time before your trip so your toddler can associate it with sleeping.

Other Hints

Build Independent Play Time: Before you leave for your trip, have your toddler practice independent playtime. You can even set a timer and say, I’ll be back in 10 minutes when the bell rings. Gradually lengthen the independent playtime.

Strategic Scheduling:  If at all possible, schedule the boring travel time at your child’s naptime or throughout the night. Take advantage of the natural sleep rhythm so your child can pass the time quietly, and you might even be able to get some rest, too, if you are traveling on a train, bus, or airplane.

Experiment Ahead of Time: You could try out some of the special activities to see if they engage your child. Let them interact with the finger puppets and busy books to see what works best. And when you find an activity that your toddler finds engaging, put that item away for the traveling date. Keep the novelty of the toy fresh for the traveling episode.

Get Physical: About an hour before your departure, plan for a very physical time with your toddler. Walk up and down the train station. Take them to the park before you get into your car. Race around the area before getting on the bus. Carry some balloons with you. Blow one up and play catch in the area while waiting for your plane.

Bribery:  Always carry snacks and liquids with you. Often toddlers can be amused with enjoying a favorite flavor. During this stressful time, it is not essential to worry about nutrition. You can offer attractive alternatives that would not usually be available. Does this sound like bribery? Sure, it is. If it works, you can use it sparingly.

Be Watchful:  Recognize the signs of boredom or discomfort early. It is much easier to settle a young one if they are not in a full meltdown. So, if you see any squirming or hear any disgruntled sounds, act quickly to change the environment somehow.

Interact:  Often, toddlers prefer to interact with their loved ones. They are easily entertained with a game of Peek a Boo, or Can you Find something red?  Make a list of favorite games that require no equipment for those tense moments. If these games fail,  then try something as lame as “Hey, look at that _______!”  There will likely be something in your view to amuse your toddler.

Mix It Up: Be prepared to switch up the activities to reduce boredom as the hours roll on by. Put away the old and bring out the new on a regular basis.

Now RELAX.  

You are prepared to enjoy your holiday.

Christmas, gifts, grandparents, Holidays, Preschool, presents, Toddler

Toddler Santa Letter: 10 Best Toddler Toys for Christmas

As a mom, I swear I can read my toddler’s mind. If my 2 years old could speak in sentences, here is what I am sure he would say to Santa in an email.

Photo by Mike Arney on Unsplash

Hi Santa

I saw you at the mall today, dressed up in your red suit. Your beard was very big, and I liked the way you laughed. I told you I wanted a puppy for Christmas, but I have been thinking about other ideas too. I have sent this email so you can start packing your sack for Christmas Eve.

I have been watching the kids across the street with their tricycle all summer long. That looks like a lot of fun. Mommy says she will be happy when I learn to ride a bike, so she won’t have to carry me to the park on a play date.  There are no pedals on this bike, so I’ll learn to ride it quickly. I’ll be able to take my puppy for a walk with it when the puppy is old enough to be on a leash. Mom helped me pick one out to show you.

LEGO is one of my favorite toys. I can now push the bricks together. But I have no LEGO people to ride in my car. I also wondered if they had a LEGO puppy too. I would love to play with a pet. There are some sets with all different kinds of people, just like the world I live in. My big sister has a lot of LEGO too, and I could share my friends with her when we have our BUILD IT time

Every day I watch my big sister pack up her backpack to get ready for school. She waits by the corner for the bus. I would like a green backpack because green is my favorite color and frogs are my favorite animals. My daddy cuts the grass with the same tractor.

Everyone in the family is talking about some squiggles on paper. The squiggles match my ABC song. To help me learn more about them, I could use a talking wall poster.  All I have to do is press in a spot, and the wall chart talks or sings. It also will play a game with me. Some of my favorite songs like “The Wheels on the Bus and the ABC song,” encourage me to sing along too. Mom likes this chart because it hangs on the wall and is never messy. I like to reach up and stretch for the surprises.

On Saturdays, we have a family BBQ, even in the winter. I like to watch my dad cook the burgers on the grill. I want to be just like my dad and cook my own burgers, too. It is fun for me to copycat what the adults do. Mom likes to keep me busy during cooking time, as she is always getting the rest of the meal ready and setting the table.

I watch my older brother and sister do their homework from school. I want to be like them with this coloring set; I can start to practice the skills to get ready for learning. The pictures are just the right size, and the honey wax crayons are soft, so I can leave my mark. Don’t worry, if I mark the walls, it will wash off easily.

Start me off with the letters in my name for the first adventure with reading. After all, I hear my name most often every day. When I learn that Brian begins with B, I can start to make sense of the letters. The capital letters are the easiest to recognize.

 Since I am still at the stage where I love to hide and seek, the tent and tunnel combination is a great way for me to exercise on those days when I cannot go outside. I’ll have fun crawling, throwing the balls, and hiding. Give mom a hint to hide a toy in the balls, so I have a reason to go digging. I love finding treasures.

What a surprise I will have when I see my very own Christmas tree full of lights. This is one that I can decorate over and over again. It will be a great keepsake for years to come and help me remember the previous seasons, too. And it is just my size. I see your face on the tree!

A Busy Book is a great way for mom and dad to keep me busy on the car trip to visit grandma and grandpa. It has many different activities inside. Mom likes it because it is very compact. I like it because there are so many different things to do. Mom and Dad only give it to me on special occasions, so I am always happy to play with it. It seems like a new exploration each time.

Merry Christmas Santa

I luv you


I’ll make sure that Mom puts milk and cookies out for you. I’ll get some carrots for the reindeer.

Education, Phonics, Preschool, Reading, Toddler

How Do I Teach Alphabet Letters? Use the Best 7 Types of Resources

There are many different resources to teach the alphabet letters. How do I know which ones are the best for learning the alphabet? How many letters in the alphabet should I teach at one time?

Little girl sorting alphabet letters into a can. She is learning how many letters are in the alphabet.

Take a look at these suggestions for some top rated strategies.

Table of Contents

    1 Try Media for Teaching Alphabet Letters

    What are the great apps and programs for learning the alphabet?  

    Elmo Loves the ABCs: You can expect quality learning opportunities with Sesame Street products. Since many of the younger set are familiar with the shows and characters, they are ready to engage in these entertaining activities: songs, videos and games. Just as you would expect a whole gambit of learning is embedded in the fun. Your young one will learn letter names, letter sounds and how to form the letters. 

    Starfall ABCs: Some sections of Starfall are free and the alphabet area is one of them. In this interactive environment, your LO can explore the letters while also hearing the sound of the letters.  The full program supports many aspects of learning to read.

    Tracing and Phonics ABCS: The app introduces the letters and sounds with colorful images. The tracing option helps kids how to form the letters intuitively. Rewards for right answers keep your LO engaged.


    Teach Your Monster to Read: Teach Your Monster to Read is a free program out of Great Britain, funded by the Usborne Foundation, that will tickle your LO’s funny bone while helping them learn how to read. There is an adventure game for exploration and maximum engagement.
    But also there are 3 apps to practice skills more intensively from learning initial songs, to  blending to reading simple books.

    2 Alphabet Games

    Alphabet Slap Jack: You can play the matching pair Slap Jack game or a number of other games such as Fish or Concentration with these cards. If your LO is just starting out learning the names or sounds of the letters, limit the number  of cards you select to play the games and then gradually add in the letters as they get familiar with them.

    Alphabet Bingo: The Bingo cards are on a 4 by 4 grid and include the capital letter, a picture clue and the name of the picture printed with the small letters.  The instructions help you modify the game to increase the difficulty. No boring worksheets needed.

    Magnetic Alphabet Fishing Game: This kinesthetic game with magnets is bound to captivate a young child’s interest. Each fish has a capital and a small letter. Your LO will learn the letters in order to catch the fish. 

    3 Alphabet Puzzles

    The Learning Journey: Jumbo Floor Puzzles – Alphabet: The sturdy puzzle pieces have colourful pictures to aid with the identification of the sounds of the letters. At the bottom of the puzzle is the alphabet so your child can see what letter comes next. The oversized floor puzzle pieces are easy for small hands to handle.


    Fun-to-Know® Puzzles: Uppercase & Lowercase Alphabet: These puzzle pieces come in pairs and are really 2 puzzles in one. On one side your kids can match the big letters with the small and on the other side is a corresponding picture and words to match.

    Learn & Write Phonics: The puzzle consists of wooden rectangles with a picture of an object and the letters mapped out for the kids to match. This game can be used in a modified manner to learn the initial letters of words. Then parents can add all of the letters for these short words to the puzzle. When starting out pull out 3 or 4 puzzle pieces with the correct first letters for your toddler to match. Then as they become more proficient, add more to the puzzle.

    Learning Resources Alphabet Soup Sorters: This resource can be classified as a game or puzzle. It consists of 26 soup cans filled with the letters and pictures to represent the sounds. One piece of advice is to start with only a limited number of cans to begin your exploration of letters. You can even group the cans according to the recommended way to teach the sounds. s, a, t, i, p, n  then c, k, e, h, r., then m, d, g, o then l, f, b, q, u then  j, z, w and finally v, y, x.  
    Research shows that your very first letter should be the first letter of your child’s name as they are 7.5 times more likely to recognize this letter above all other letters. Then you can follow the order above.

    4 ABC Songs

    There are many alphabet songs on YouTube. I have included some that appeal to me but you can search for ones you like as well.

    Teach Your Monster to Read Songs: Along with the fabulous games, there are songs for the letters of the alphabet. Impressively the songs are not listed in alphabetical order but in the order that is recognized for easy learning. “S” leads the pack with “Y” at the end. There are only 22 songs instead of 26 because it is not necessary to study all of the letter sounds as the missing letters are not used that often and can be picked up casually.


    Phonics Song by the Preschool Prep Company: The letters are presented in order but the song also includes the sounds of the letters. And letters with different sounds such as g for giraffe and g for guitar have the 2 sounds presented as well.

    Jolly Phonics A to Z: In this series of songs, the individual letters are clearly separated so you can work on a letter at a time. Therefore, it is quite easy to start with “s” as your beginning letter study and learn the sound to accompany “s”. The melody of the alphabet letter song is based on some well-known tunes. Here is the order again: s, a, t, i, p, n  then c, k, e, h, r., then m, d, g, o then l, f, b, q, u then  j, z, w and finally v, y, x.

    5 Alphabet Storybooks

    This is the old standby way of teaching the alphabet. There are quality books that cover the entire alphabet and there are books for each letter. If you are having difficulty with specific letters, you might be successful with the individual letter books. You may be surprised by the variations that now exist.

    AlphaTales Box Set: In this set each the 26 letters is highlighted in an easy to read book with delightful pictures. Since the books are individual, you are free to start with any letter. The latest research suggests starting with the first letter of your child’s name. And then follow a specific order that has been shown to be effective: s, a, t, i, p, n  then c, k, e, h, r., then m, d, g, o then l, f, b, q, u then  j, z, w and finally v, y, x. At the end of the book is a rhyme to reinforce the letter sound.

    Non-Fiction Alphabet Readers Parent Pack: Research has shown that boys are often more interested in non-fiction texts over storybooks. You may find that these books will work well for you. Each of the 26 books highlights a letter. There is also a mini activity book to accompany the set.

    6 Alphabet Fun Resources

    Coolplay A-Z 26 Alphabet Water Cards: These are almost a magic alphabet set. With the waterfilled pen, your toddler can scribble the picture into life. And when the card dries it disappears for another time of surprise. All of the cards are linked together so you can easily transport them. Take them with you for exploration while you drive in the car. Again it is advisable to limit the cards when starting out learning the alphabet letters and sounds.

    Magnetic Letters and Numbers + Matching A-Z Objects: This set will be useful for years. You can start with the alphabet and then expand into rhyming words and spelling the words. The foldable board is surrounded by the alphabet for locating the exact letter need

    Interactive Alphabet Wall Chart: This interactive game like wall chart will entertain your child and spur them to spend more time learning the letters of the alphabet. It has several other options including,  piano mode, quiz and spelling to explore as well.

    7 Play

    101 Ways to Teach the Alphabet: A Hands-On Approach to Learning Letters and Sounds Through Play: And if you need an inspiration about how to make learning fun, try this book full of ideas to turn teaching into play.


    Workbooks – Not

    Your child will learn more about the letters and sounds by these methods than hours of phonics sheets from workbooks. You can use the sheets on occasion but a toddler responds with more enthusiasm for other methods of learning. Try some of these suggestions for great results!

    Related Reads

    Simple as ABC: Learn the Alphabet – Best Practices: Use these research-based practices to help you LO learn the alphabet. You can make the whole process a lot easier with these guidelines. Where to start and how to proceed.

    How to Select a Phonics Program: 5 Criteria    Start prereading skills early. See which phonics programs have the options you want when your LO is ready to start learning how to read.

    How Do I Teach my Preschooler to Read? Parents get some advice from an expert teacher for helping your young child learn about reading. 

    Testimonial: Hira Adnan – thanku its really considerable.     Andrew Sarah DeVries – a lot of useful information is included in this article… A LOT. 

    Parenting, Phonics, Preschool, Reading, Toddler, Uncategorized

    Simple as A B C: Learn the Alphabet – Best Practices

    created by brgfx –

    Learning the alphabet letters is the foundation for learning to read.  It is a fact that knowledge of the alphabet often predicts later success in the ability to read. 

    And reading is the method many people use to learn concepts from the simplest to the most complicated. Many parents worry needlessly over their child’s progression for this task, as success may take some time. 

    The Story of L

    After 20 times of pointing out that your child’s name starts with “L” and little Leo still doesn’t seem to understand, it is easy to be discouraged. But what parents may not realize is that it could take up to 200 repetitions to solidify the concept. And this is especially true if this is the first letter you try to introduce. You may not realize what you are doing is almost a leap of faith on your child’s part.

    Photo by Ryan Fields on Unsplash

    They need to recognize that the squiggle on the paper has meaning. The squiggles are so unlike their standard method of communication – talking.

    As a parent, you need to relax and keep repeating the story of “L” (as well as different letters) in many different ways until the message is understood. Repetition in interesting ways does work. However, dull, monotonous repetition does not.

    It is significant that “L” is for Leo. 
    But “L” has many stories to tell. It is for the brave lion in the storybook read last night. It is also “L” for lemon tarts that your child loves so much. You can make a capital “L” using your left hand and pointy finger. It is also the delightful smell of lilacs that bloom in the back of the yard. It is far more interesting and effective to have your child use their senses to associate with letter sounds. You can try using the coloring and identification pages, but you will have more success with experiential learning. Of course, you will need to introduce the symbols for “L,  l,” but associating the sounds with tangible objects is very powerful. 
    You do not need set lessons about “L,” but the teacher (read parent) needs a mindset to point out every “L” in the immediate vicinity. It could be the ladder that daddy uses to fix the roof or the lightening in the rainstorm, or the lace on mommy’s blouse.  You could even point to the large sign that says, “Lucy’s Corner Store.” L seems to be everywhere.

    After many repetitions, Leo will finally understand the association of the letter to the sound it makes. At that point you can start to associate the sound and letter of “L” to instances in print.

    How fortunate that you decided on the name “Leo” as that name choice has made teaching the first letter of the alphabet much easier. The sound that “L” makes is in its name.  If you had decided on Charlie instead of Leo, your job would have been much more difficult. The “C” in Charlie has to be combined with the “h” to make the “ch.” Sometimes “C” is a hard sound such as in “candy,” and sometimes it is a soft sound such as in “ice.” The letter “C” can be so confusing!

    What’s in a Name?

    You might be wondering why I started with your child’s name. Why didn’t I start with “A” as it is the first letter of the alphabet?  Current research affirms that the beginning sound or letter of your child’s first name is an ideal place to start. Did you know that children are 7.5 times more likely to know the letter of their first initial, according to a scientific study, Pivotal Research in Early Literacy? And even better, if the name has an easier letter with which to begin.

    It only makes sense to many people that children would be partial to their own name. After all, they have heard their name many more times than most other words. It is easier to start with the familiar when teaching something as abstract as a symbolic system of letter recognition. 

    The Name of the Letters or the Sound?

    There have been many debates about which system is more important. Do you teach the name of the letters or the sound the letters make? Experts have solid arguments for both strategies.
    But this same study confirmed that whether you start with the letter names, as in the ABC song, or the sounds of the letters doesn’t substantially make a difference. Interestingly, in the US, parents tend to teach the letter names, and in the UK, they tend to teach the sounds of the letters.

    Capital Letters or Small Letters

    It is easier for kids to recognize the capital letters as opposed to the small letters as capitals are graphically more unique from each other. Anyone who has run into the “b” and “d” confusions can attest to this phenomenon.

    As a veteran teacher of small kids, I prefer that parents familiarize their kids with the small letters of the alphabet as those are the “meat and potatoes” of reading.  You do not need to begin with the small letters, but by the time your child is ready to go to kindergarten, it is important that he or she is familiar with all of the small letters. Research does validate that the kids who know capital letters first had better retention of small letters. 

    Where to Start?

    Start with the first letter of your child’s name, even if it is a tricky letter. Familiarity trumps almost everything else in introducing an entirely new form of communication. Your young child knows talking. Now you are introducing something far less concrete.  

    No, no, no – Not a Letter a Week Approach

    It would seem to the adult mind that focusing on a letter a week just makes sense. But that is not the best way to learn the alphabet. Not every letter deserves an intense focus on it. Your focus on the letters should be proportional to their importance. E is the most frequent letter in the English language, and q is the least infrequent. Spend more time on letters that have more significance. Some lowercase letters are very confusing because the shape is the same, but the orientation is different. Consider these pairs: b–d; p–q; u–n. Many kids also confuse n with m because they look so similar. Don’t get discouraged if your child has some difficulty in distinguishing the differences. Other kids confuse s with 2. Some kids are 7 or 8 years old before they stop confusing these letters in their writing.  

    So,  spend more time with letters that are difficult or used more in the English language. Take less time with uncommon letters and letters your child learns quickly.  

    An Alphabetical Approach- NOT

    Any set of exercises that starts at A and ends with Z is not based on the latest research for instruction. You can use these materials if you rearrange the order of the letters and intensify instruction for the most important letters. 
    Any program that introduces a letter a week does not do justice because some letters require more instruction because they are complicated. All of the vowels fall under this category as they have at least 2 different sound associations – short sound like “e” in egg and long sound like “e” in easy. Then there are times when “e” is silent, but it makes another letter change its sound, such as “e” in cape. 

    Programs that are organized to teach your child the letters and sounds may have a slightly different order of letters, but they do start with the letters that are easier to learn and are also used in many 3 letter words. You can easily find different organizations through a Google search. Then you can select the program that best suits your child’s needs.

    However, “s” is often a beginning letter to investigate (after your child’s name) because it has a very distinctive sound and is used in many words. You will find many picture books that emphasize this letter.

    Letter Recognition, Print Awareness, and Beginning Writing – All at the Same Time

    Another critical aspect of learning the ABCs is linking the letters or their sounds to print. You should be looking for letters in a book, in the world around your child, and in writing letters to spell words. These 3 approaches scaffold the reading process.
    Books that have a repeated letters are great for a letter hunt. 

    In the environment, you can look for “H” as it signals a hospital. Or the STOP on the red sign means that mommy must stop the car. All of these letters in your environment can become useful tools for teaching the alphabet.

    Start your child writing the first letter of their name. Add the consonant letters next and finally slip in the vowels. Let your child scribble and tell you about the story they have written. That is a significant, positive step in development. They may progress to invented spelling for words such as using grf for giraffe. 

    So, learning the letters, recognizing them in printed text, in the world around them, and using the letters to communicate are very valuable steps in the reading-writing process. Each activity adds meaning to the other.

    A Recap for an Evidence-Based Approach to Teaching the ABC’s

    • Child’s Name: One very successful place to start with is the first letter of your child’s name, especially if it is a letter that has a similar or identical sound and name. Some of those letters are more suitable for teaching than others A for Adrian (but not for Alyssa), C for Carlie (but not for Charlie), G for George (but not for Gregory), etcetera. But even if your child has a less desirable first letter, I would start there anyway as familiarity will be more important than exact sound matching.
    • CAPITAL LETTERS: You can use the capital letters for first teaching the recognition of the letters.  However, every primary teacher will be supportive of teaching small letters by kindergarten age.
    • Experiences: Focus on experiential learning and not worksheets or dull practice of the sounds. A caveat here. Some kids like to have worksheets, just like big brother or sister. You can effectively use those phonic pages, but don’t insist the pages get completed if their interests wander.
    • Look for the Print: Alphabet instruction is enhanced when it is also linked to print –  in the environment, in writing, and in the books you read to children. 

    Here’s what to Teach to your LO before Going to Kindergarten

    The process of acquiring these skills will be haphazard. It is not necessary to start at any one point, but it is necessary to cover these skills for a successful beginning to school.

    Developing Comprehension Skills

    • Enjoy hearing stories and singing songs
    • Understand the meaning of stories.
    • Be able to tell what happened in the story – beginning, middle, and end

    Developing Letter and Phonetic Skills

    • Sing or say the alphabet
    • Identify most of the uppercase and lowercase letters
    • Match uppercase letters to lowercase
    • Identify rhyming words
    • Know the sounds that the letters make
    • Write some of the letters
    • Write their name and know the letters in their name

    Mathematical  Knowledge

    • Count to 10
    • Recognize number patterns  – the patterns  look like what is on dice 
    • Sizing  – bigger and smaller objects, longer and shorter, taller and shorter, heavier and lighter
    • Names of commons shapes  – 3D, e.g., cube, ball,    and 2D, e.g., square, circle, triangle, 
    • Progression of time  – sooner and later, day and night,  before and  after

    Coronavirus, Elementary School Kids, Parenting, Preschool, Toddler

    Kids Can: in the Coronavirus Pandemic

    When you can do something in a circumstance, you feel in more control. Kids do not know this fact instinctively, but you can help them to cultivate this strategy.

    It will help your kids establish a better emotional balance during this pandemic.

    What the Research Says

    “According to a 2017 study by Fothergill, kids experience the general atmosphere of anxiety and panic as acutely as adults do, only they might be better at hiding it. That fact might contribute to a general sense among adults that children are somehow naturally “resilient,” and can bounce back easily. And that attitude from adults can hamper both proactive attempts to help children process what’s happening, and necessary therapeutic efforts after the disaster,” according to The Atlantic.

    You Can

    So, what can you do as a responsible parent? You can focus on what kids can do to maintain a positive attitude and encourage coping skills during the restricted conditions in the coronavirus pandemic. Try out these 7 ideas to eliminate bad behavior!

    1. Be A Helper!

    This is a win-win situation. Parents will welcome the help at home at the same time that kids need to be active.

    As a parent, you can explain that just as the emergency care workers help sick people, kids can help at home to keep family members safe.

    Set up a list of ways to help from setting the table, putting out the garbage, and creating a garden. Let your kids select the tasks they want to do if you’re intent on getting “buy-in” from them. Then reward them with an acknowledgment of their contribution. Make your praise specific as it is more effective. It may sound like this. “When you do the dishes, it gives mummy more time to organize things for all of the family. Thank you for doing such a great job!”

    If your children are older, they can be a helper in your community. There are many special projects developed by a local community organization, churches, and government agencies to meet the needs of this unusual time. Many tasks can be completed by older kids in your own home if you do not want to expose them to the risks of working with people outside your family bubble. They could make courtesy Facebook connections to elders in the nursing homes, or package material to distribute as just a few examples.

    2. Follow the Family Routine

    Kids thrive on knowing the ebb and flow of the day, so it is crucial to set up a routine for eating, sleeping, chores, entertainment, and other daily activities. A routine will ward off bad behavior.

    To make the plan visible to everyone, it is essential to post the schedule where it can be seen. You may not have times associated with the routine, but the order of some activities will be very similar every day.

    Not every day needs to be identical. For instance, you may target one day a week for grocery shopping or to assist at the local food kitchen or work in the garden.

    3. Stay Healthy

    To fight this virus, each individual has a societal responsibility to stay healthy. For your kids, that can manifest itself in helping to plan healthy meals or snacks, times and types of exercise, times for social interaction, and times for individual responsibility such as homework or job-related tasks.

    You will need to point out that these healthy initiatives are required to combat the coronavirus spread. These small steps are all part of the larger fight to beat this pandemic.

    4. Ask Questions

    Often kids can misinterpret the media, have learned an incorrect fact from a friend, or respond to their anxiety in a very damaging way. Negative emotions based on misconceptions are potent.

    Encourage seeking the truth about the pandemic so that the path to a more normal life is clear.

    You may want to add a question period in your daily routine to spark interaction. Perhaps while you are preparing dinner, you can have an open session where questions are asked or present some critical information. Bedtime is another opportunity for conversations, as well.

    5. A Temporary Situation

    Kids need to understand that this situation is, for now, but it will not be forever. You can assure them that gradually they will be able to do the things they always did, such as go to school, visit their friends and family, play on the beach and everything else.

    But at first, things will be different as we all need to use social distancing, such as wearing masks, meeting outside, or meeting behind glass. Eventually, these precautions will fade away and just become a memory.

    6. Be Thankful Every Day

    Although our current situation may be the toughest sacrifice you have had to make, it is not the most severe that people in other areas face daily.

    It is critical to help your kids see the positives in their lives. Perhaps everyone they know is healthy. Or staying at home has meant more time with family members. Your kids may have learned a new skill in this time, such as learning to ride a bike or learning how to use tools or reading more books.

    You may want to put a thankfulness time into your routine. Every day, in the conversation around the dinner table, you can role model what you were thankful for today. It can be something as small as seeing the first robin of the year or as big as grandma got out of the hospital today. Focus on the positive in direction opposition to the build-up of negative emotions.

    7. Be the Best They Can

    By helping your kids understand the source of their negative emotions, they can take control of their own behavior.

    There are many storybooks and YouTube videos that explain the connection between stress and anxiety and bad behavior in a kid-like manner. As a parent, you will recognize that poor behavior is likely a maladjusted response for dealing with fear or depression.

    Teach your child to understand that these outbursts are responses to a situation that is beyond their control. Your kids need to focus on what they can do in this very oppressive situation. They can choose to make themselves feel better. And you are there to support them as they find ways to be more positive.

    With young kids, you need the right tool to help your child understand that sometimes life sucks, but when it does, that is the time to use the light at the end of the tunnel to boost their spirits.


    There are some specific resources for parents to use to address feelings kids may be experiencing. Some are coronavirus specific, and others are about the emotions generated by a variety of situations. Use these resources to help your children understand that dealing with their feelings will put them into control of their life.

    Spark your child’s understanding of their emotions through the right media resources.

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    A New Day by Alex Ryvchin

    There is hope for the future in this story. Arm your kids with this sentiment during this time that is filled with doubt.

    Heroes of the Pandemic by Anant Naik

    These everyday heroes perform magnificent feats daily. Your kids can replicate their bravery by stepping up their efforts to keep the family safe and in good spirits. Just ask them to be a hero and you may be surprised at their effort.

    Help your Dragon Deal with Anxiety by Steve Herman

    Although this is not a coronavirus specific book, all of the lessons in this book can be applied to the current situation.

    Help your Dragon Cope with Trauma by Steve Herman

    Trauma can come in many forms. It will be easy to relate the situations in this book to your current family situation. The important aspect is how to cope with trauma in any form.

    Uncertain Times: A Story for Kids during a Pandemic
    by Jaime Henle , Giada Biasetti, et al.

    This storybook has been written by a clinical psychologist. The tiny bird, as a narrator, is a symbol of hope and freedom, which is what we need these days.

    Not Forever But For Now: by Heather Malley

    This story is about about feelings during the pandemic. The many scary emotions that are explored are put into counterpoint by the ever green activities and refrain “Not Forever, but For Now.”

    Someday Soon by Ari Gunzburg

    As adults we can rationalize that “someday soon” will come. Young kids need to hear and see confirmation that their hopes are not lost. We are all longing for that change, even if we know that it will be the new normal.

    Recommended YouTube Videos

    Helping Children Manage Anxiety During the COVID 19 Pandemic: You will appreciate the background information. – for parents

    Kids and Stress: Willem, the “News Dude” speaks directly to kids about the causes and some solutions for stress. – suitable for older children

    Stress Relief for Kids: Blow out the candle breathing. Use this video to explain training in deep breathing using cartoon characters. Your child will understand a mindful moment. – varied ages

    What Causes Anxiety & Depression? This video uses scenes from the movie “Inside Out” to explain why we need to acknowledge our feelings, but then shows a way to move on. It’s okay to be sad. – a variety of ages

    Managing Worry and Anxiety: The rap cartoon is about how to overcome worrying. great for older kids

    De-stress Hacks to Relax: Your kids can make stress-relieving tools to destress. – suitable for older children

    Anxiety for Kids – You are Normal: This video is an explanation of anxiety. The explanation includes the physical changes you undergo. – for older kids

    Ruby Finds a Worry: In this storybook read aloud, A worry follows Ruby everywhere. It grows every day until she finds a friend to talk to. It shows that talking about worries with a friend is the best solution. – for young children

    Anxiety Management for kids: This is a cartoon explanation about the source of anxiety.- for a school-aged child

    Dealing with Anxiety as a Kid: This video explains the physical cause of anxiety and ways to cope with the fears. – for preteens and teens