of all ages need the opportunity to nurture. Often, the youngest
children in families may be the most demanding because they have
not learned to temper their demands in the face of a more helpless
sibling. Spending time with family or friends who have younger children,
having a pet, or caring for a plant are all ways to foster children
and teenager's nurturing skills.
It is just as
important - possibly more important - to spend time developing these
skills with your sons who often don't know they will need these
skills as much as your daughters will when they grow up.
VISITING WITH BABIES, TODDLERS & PARENTS
Take your child
or teen to visit a baby or toddler and its parent.
With your child
or teen, think of questions in advance to ask about the responsibilities
of caring for the baby, what the baby can do and not do at that
age, and what the baby understands and needs at different ages.
Have your child
or teen observe the baby and parent together and interact with the
baby his or herself.
about what your child or teen learned and felt as he or she observed
the baby and parent. What ideas did this experience give them about
parenting and its responsibilities? What questions do they have
about themselves at that age?
repeat the visits every month so your child or teen can observe
the baby's development over time and learn about how a parent's
responsibilities change with their growing child.
PRE-SCHOOL AND EARLY ELEMENTARY STUDENTS:
Get the book
"Baby Science: How Babies Really Work" by Ann Douglas
(Owl Books, 1998) from the library, or purchase it. Read it and
look at the pictures with your child, and do some of the suggested
exercises to help them understand more about what it's like to be
a baby. Read some of the other books on the booklist at www.parentingproject.org/ptpm_reading.htm
If you can, do this before your child visits with a baby (See next
children to understand and talk clearly about their emotions now
will increase their understanding of themselves and others - including
their own children - in the future. Keep this chart for your whole
family for a week.
Create a "Family
Emotions Chart" to post on the wall or fridge with seven columns
listing each day of the week and at least eight to ten rows that
list a variety of emotions on the left. Solicit young people's suggestions
of which emotions to list.
Assign a different
color crayon or marker to each family member.
At the end of
each day, have each family member mark a big colored dot next to
the emotion that best describes how he or she felt that day. If
necessary, mark more than one emotion for the day.
At the week's
end, family members connect their dots with their crayon color.
Review the week's
chart as a family and discuss what you see: Was this a typical week?
Which weekdays felt best or worst? Did the weather affect people's
moods? Which family members had similar feelings and which had different
feelings and why? Whose moods were even and whose were varied? Does
looking at the chart help your children understand themselves and
their family members better?
Bring the charts
in to school or a group meeting to share and discuss as a class
and discover the many emotions other children and adults have every
was taken from the workbook "Parenting Rewards & Responsibilities:
Parent & Home Involvement" by Marilyn Swierk, MS, CFCS,
CFLE, Glencoe McGraw-Hill, 2000 which can be purchased by visiting
LATE ELEMENTARY THROUGH HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS:
and teens to take a certified babysitting course and offer them
some kind of badge, reward or other recognition if they do. Not
only will this increase their knowledge of child development and
parenting skills, it help them take better care of their siblings
and get babysitting work. Contact your local SafeSitter classes
or Red Cross chapter or consult local paper listings to find a certified
babysitting course in your area.
make countless important decisions every day. Help young people
develop the skills they'll need to make wise parenting decisions
by practicing the following decision-making process with them:
up a few decision-making scenarios. Examples include, "Carol
would like to have a baby, but suspects her husband is becoming
an alcoholic. What should she do?" or "Children in the
neighborhood are picking on Bill and Carla's son. Bill and Carla
want to help him. What should they do?" Let your family choose
one or two scenarios to explore.
Use the six
steps of the decision-making process to work together to find a
resolution to the scenario. Be sure everyone contributes his or
her ideas to the process. If necessary, write responses on separate
sheets of paper first.
the exact decision to be made.
- List all
- Create a
two column chart to list the pros and cons of each option.
your values: What is important to you and your family?
- Make a decision
and take action.
the results of your decision and take responsibility for consequences.*
SHAKEN BABY SYNDROME
As a family,
find out as much as you can about shaken baby syndrome and take
action to prevent this problem from occurring in your community.
Have your children
and teens use the Internet, library, and calls to social service
agencies and pediatricians to research what shaken baby syndrome
is, how often it occurs, and why it happens.
why people might shake their babies, how the problem can be prevented,
and where parents can go to get help. Discuss what your children
or teens can and should do if they suspect someone is abusing their
Talk about the
reasons babies cry and ways to soothe a crying baby.
with your family to help prevent this problem locally by raising
people's awareness of shaken baby syndrome. Actions to take together
might include creating and handing out flyers outside grocery stores
or malls, creating and hanging posters around the community, writing
a letter to the editor of the local paper, and writing an article
for the high school paper. *
FOR ALL AGES
- SET THE BEST EXAMPLE
model the behavior you want to encourage in your children. Children
deserve the respect inherent in an adult's apology: "Jane,
Mommy really lost her temper before. I am so sorry. Do you want
to talk about how you felt about that?" Children will learn
from your modeling how to be more considerate to their siblings,
their peers, and eventually their own children.
were taken from the workbook "Parenting Rewards & Responsibilities:
Parent & Home Involvement" by Marilyn Swierk, MS, CFCS,
CFLE, Glencoe McGraw-Hill, 2000.
to Activities and Lessons Index