Making mistakes in parenting is a part of the experience. Parents are human; no one can be expected to be flawless. The process of raising young children is no exception. We all make mistakes but it is how we respond to those mistakes that really shows our true character.

The amazing part about making mistakes in parenting is that it provides an opportunity to model for children how to behave in the aftermath. Modeling appropriate ways of handling mistakes shows children that we are all human, prone to making mistakes and capable of accepting responsibility.

  • Label and validate feelings: Try saying aloud how you are feeling. “I just made the biggest mistake and I feel lousy!” or “I’m feeling really badly that I did something I didn’t mean to.” When children see adults talking about their feelings it normalizes the process and helps them to feel less isolated in their own experiences. Likewise, giving validation to feelings aids in the process of healing and moving beyond the uncomfortable feelings that making mistakes might bring.
  • Accept responsibility: Being accountable for your actions shows those around you that you acknowledge that you have messed up and you recognize it. Taking responsibility for our actions, good or bad, shows children that we are autonomous and others are not responsible for our feelings.
  • Do the repair work: If you hurt someone’s feelings or took misplaced anger or frustration out on another person, be sure to do the repair work as soon as possible. Doing repair work in your relationships (not just with your children!) can make all the difference in the world in building lasting trust. When we step up and apologize, it is an act of love.
  • Be kind to yourself: Beating yourself up for making mistakes is not in the service of healing and can be quite damaging to your self-esteem. Use kind words with yourself when you make mistakes. Observe the internal language you use with yourself. Is it negative? Are you shaming and blaming, or are you forgiving and accepting? If you observe negative self-talk, try the affirmation, “I am doing the best I can.” Talk to yourself with the same kindness you might use with a close friend or your children.
  • Pledge to do better: If the mistake you have made affected people around you, make a pledge to yourself and those people to do better. Saying “I know I made this mistake, but I will do better” can be not only a way to acknowledge the mistake made, but a commitment to trying to do better in the future and a way to reassure people around you that you are trying your best.

Remember to forgive yourself along the way; parenting (and life!) is hard work that requires practice.

Spend the summer keeping the kids busy and bonding with these family-friendly activities right here in Southern Wisconsin. Make sure you’re properly trained in first aid for supervising children by taking a First Aid or CPR class with 4-C this summer.

Explore Local State Parks

Introduce your family to relaxing hiking trails with leisurely strolls among the beautiful Wisconsin scenery. Badger State Trail starts in Madison and winds south into Illinois, but the highlight will have your kids’ eyes wide: the 1,200-foot-long Steward Tunnel. Wyalusing State Park has 9 different trails that explore woods, waterfalls, Native American effigy mounds, and wildlife. This park is one of the state’s oldest and holds Treasure Cave, a limestone cavern kids love to explore.

Wisconsin Museums and Zoos

Wisconsin has museums and zoos aplenty. The Madison Children’s Museum has 6 hands-on exhibits and has a focus on learning through play. In Milwaukee, the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum lets the kids lead the way to showing adults the profound impact of children’s learning. The Milwaukee Public Museum is one of the largest in the country and offers a wide variety of topics in a stimulating environment for learning. Free to all, the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison offers a petting zoo in the summer, and the Children’s Zoo on the south side of the zoo. The Milwaukee County Zoo features over 2,500 animals and is considered one of the finest in the country.

Water Parks and Activities

Water parks are easy to find in the Dells, like Noah’s Ark (America’s largest water park) and Kalahari Resort. If natural bodies of water are more your thing, the Lower Wisconsin River has diverse wildlife and scenic views. Teach the family to fish, work together to kayak down the river, or relax in a tube down the current. Make sure you’re doing all you can to prevent drowning by taking a CPR or First Aid class with 4-C this summer. Check our upcoming events calendar to find a training opportunity.

It can be frustrating seeing your child left behind while others are passing milestones in their life. This could mean the possibility for a developmental delay. There are different ways you can identify developmental delays and also implement early intervention techniques.

Having a developmental delay means that your child can be a little bit slower to adapt skills and in some cases can be caused by short-lived issues. Sometimes identifying the developmental delay can be confusing, early intervention can often help kids catch up. 4-C offers a chance to receive a simple, free and confidential screening to learn about your child’s development. If a child isn’t catching up as quickly as expected, talk to your pediatrician, an evaluation can be provided to get a better understanding of what's going on.


There are 5 areas of skill development and possible delay that can occur. It’s important to understand and identify these areas.

  • Cognitive skills
  • Social and emotional skills
  • Speech and language
  • Fine and gross motor skills
  • Activities of daily living.

If you are noticing set backs in these areas, it may be time to evaluate if your child is eligible for early intervention.

Early intervention can be essential with children and families of developmental delays. The services are designed to help children with developmental delays. Specialist work with kids with specific intervention needs. Obtaining early intervention services can help children catch up in development and also help with success in life. Early intervention is intended for infants and toddlers who have a developmental delay or disability. Types of early intervention services include:

  • Assistive technology (devices a child might need)
  • Audiology or hearing services
  • Speech and language services
  • Counseling and training for a family
  • Medical services Nursing services
  • Nutrition services
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Psychological services

If your child is eligible for early intervention there are programs available in every state and territory. These publicly funded programs provide services for free or at a reduced cost for eligible children. These services can have a significant impact on a child's ability to learn and to overcome challenges. Early intervention isn't only for the children, it can provide assistance to parents and other family members as they nurture the child with disabilities.

Rain or sleet, hail or snow; it’s easy to turn on the tv to entertain the kids when they are stuck at home due to bad weather. Screen time is hard to pull away from and an easy habit to form. Parents and child care professionals can beat cabin fever with these helpful ideas.

Craft Your Own Entertainment

Get messy and create your own playdough using your favorite food coloring dye and simple ingredients found in your kitchen. Try a different texture with homemade gak in a resealable plastic bag. If you prefer to keep the mess on paper, try making homemade puffy paint with glue and shaving cream.

children playing with playdough

Full STEAM Ahead with Winter Science Experiments

Changing temperatures can help you explore the natural world without leaving your front yard. Discover the change in volume from different states of matter. First, grab a clear jar and fill with snow. Mark your snow line with one color marker and your guess to the amount of water that will be leftover with another, then monitor how it melts. Blow bubbles in freezing temperatures and watch them freeze before your eyes. Once frozen solid, knock them over and see if they shatter!

You can find more fun and educational activities for children when you follow our Pinterest page, or read through resources and tips our 4-C blog!

Work Out Built Up Energy

Don’t have an indoor jungle gym? A few household items can create a fun, active play space. Play the classic game of ‘Don’t Touch the Lava’ and place ‘stepping stones’ between furniture that the children can use to hop from place to place. Line up a row of pillows to balance on as they walk to challenge their gross motor skills. A few lines of tape on the ground, evenly spaced apart, easily becomes a track and field long jump. Watch the kids hop and stretch to see how far they can go.

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