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Children are ever-curious, and the differences of race and diversity are sure to be noticed among them. When your children finally approach you with the discussion, or when you believe your child is old enough, you should be prepared to talk through a conversation about race in an age-appropriate way.

How Do I Talk About Skin Color?

Kids start to ask questions about race and differences in skin tone that they notice among their peers and adults early in their life. Explain that each person is unique in their skin color, hair, and more. You can start by comparing the differences in skin tone among your own family unit as an example. One in ten children in America are multiracial, so skin color is not a conversation that can be avoided in single race households.

How Do I Talk About Current Events?

Parents should be limiting kid’s screen time and monitoring their content. Images in the media are more likely to be focused on protests or riots than issues of race, which may give children the wrong impression. However, children pick up on conversations they overhear from adults, and may already be forming opinions. Ask your child what they have heard or seen, then answer their questions with facts. This conversation can be more intimidating than others, so be sure to ask your child how they are feeling and validate their emotions. Sesame Street and CNN held a combined town hall meeting for kids and families that features Elmo and his father explaining the Black Lives Matter movement and police brutality. This is a great tool for families to watch together, and becomes a great conversation starter for parents struggling to find where to start.

The ‘Talk’

Black families have always had a discussion about race and racism they are sure to experience with their children at early ages, but white families should also have a similar talk. This is a chance to talk about empathy and standing up for others as a bystander when they see injustice or something they know is unfair.

Are There Books To Help Talk About Race?

Teachers and parents alike can start to diversify their book collection with more character of color and age-appropriate explanations of race and racial bias. Adopting an anti-bias curriculum can help create “a climate of positive self and group identity development, through which every child will achieve her or his fullest potential.” Adults and children alike will enjoy the list of book recommendations for culture, racial identity, economic class, family structures, and more. Find more suggestions on children’s books addressing race at EmbraceRace, Smithsonian and Today’s Parent.

It’s important to remember not to ignore their questions or to wait until your child brings up the topic first. All children are bound to experience diversity among their peers, so the sooner they learn the better.

Explore and reflect on Core Competencies for the State of Wisconsin in regards to diversity with Honoring Difference: Diversity in Early Childhood.

As many summer camps and programs cancel their usual plans in favor of caution due to the coronavirus outbreak, parents are finding themselves at a loss for options to keep kids busy. Additionally technology has made itself an invaluable tool during the pandemic, with things like school and birthday parties taking place online. These factors have contributed to the rise in screen time for children, but many parents are wondering how much screen time should be allowed for children during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s important to acknowledge that we’re living in unprecedented times, so the recommendations for screen time that previously guiding our best practices doesn’t hold the same weight as before. Work with your family to create a new screen time schedule to follow. If you work from home screen time could be scheduled for times you need to put more focus into your own tasks. Adults in the house should also follow this schedule in order to model healthy screen use for the kids. Keeping to the schedule helps create a solid routine that kids will begin to question less.

Screen time isn’t all negative. It can also act as a reward, or play a vital role in connecting children to grandparents and friends in video chat. However, technology should not be the only thing your child enjoys this summer. There are activities to enjoy in your own backyard all summer long, as well as engaging activities for children indoors. Demonstrating healthy screen usage and engaging with children will be the best way to prioritize your family’s wellness during this time.

Learn more about your child and their development by submitting a free and confidential Ages and Stages Questionnaire. The ASQ Developmental Screening can be requested at any time for children ages two months to five and a half years.

Summer is here and families are finding themselves at home more often. Warm weather is inviting you to come outside, but you don't need to leave your own backyard to enjoy the summer. Here are five things your family can do to savor this summer outdoors.

  1. Sidewalk Chalk
    A pack of sidewalk chalk holds unlimited options for art and games. Kids can create hopscotch, obstacle courses, and even opportunities for learning letters and words. Tracing shadows and other artistic drawings are always fun, and when the chalk piece becomes too small for hands to hold, you can spray the stub with water to make a new design on the sidewalk.

  2. Water Games
    Small children can entertain themselves endlessly with paintbrushes and water in the sun. Other basic games can be improved with a little water, like playing Duck, Duck, Goose with a cup of cold water or soaking sponge. You can even make your own slip and slide with a large piece of plastic from the hardware store, some soap, and a hose.

  3. Scavenger Hunts
    Create your own scavenger hunt by hiding objects and clues throughout the yard, or set the kids out on a hunt to find as many different types of bugs as possible. Keep track of where the bugs are found in the yard and what types of plants they like.

  4. Start a Garden
    By starting your own garden, children are more likely to be invested in its well-being. The garden teaches kids responsibility, as well as the basics of gardening. Consider planting healthy fruits and vegetables to pique their interest in eating new things. Additionally, planting brightly colored flowers will attract butterflies and hummingbirds for even more beautiful scenery.

  5. Enjoy a Picnic
    Appreciating a meal with the family outdoors in nice weather can make a big difference in the mood of the home. A family meal does a lot to build the bond between family members, and appreciating good weather while you do can help boost your attitude.

Parents and caregivers should remember to apply sunscreen and wash your hands regularly. Follow our Pinterest page for more ideas on outdoor activities.

From time to time we can let our emotions get the better of us. However, those who work with children know our emotions can cause things different than we intend. During times of high stress, it’s important to remember to take care of yourself so you can provide the best environment for children in your care. Children are sponges and can easily pick up on your emotions. When you feel anxious, try practicing a few things to relax before it overwhelms you. Here are a few strategies to help de-stress in times of high tension.

4-C Online Courses

Register for one of our many online courses to help support your emotional well-being as an early childhood professional.

Mindful Breathing

Find a quiet place alone in your daily routine to take five minutes to focus on your breathing and focus on nothing else. If you are with children, ask them to join you for daily quiet time on the floor. Focusing on one sensation helps reduce blood pressure, as well as stress. If the concentrated breathing is not enough to reduce your tension after a few sessions, you may want to consider adding progressive relaxation techniques to your mindful sessions. It is essential that you care for yourself and your well-being first, so that you can be your best for children in your care. You can find more activities to focus on mindfulness for both you and the children in your care on our Pinterest board.

Yoga

There are many apps and free videos online for simple yoga poses, as well as simple and calming yoga poses for children. All it takes is 15 minutes a day for yoga to decrease stress and improve your concentration and memory. This is a time to focus on your physical and emotional sensations, being mindful of everything you feel. A small bit of exercise never hurts, either!

Free Virtual Workouts

There are many health benefits to exercise other than just aerobic capacity and muscle size. Exercising regularly can have a dramatic positive effect on depression, anxiety and more. Research has shown that even modest amounts can make a difference. Try to focus on activities you enjoy, anything that gets you moving counts. Now, more than ever, connecting with others is important. Thankfully, there are a variety of free virtual workouts available to keep your mind and body active without going to the gym.

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