Biting Toddler Kicked Out of Childcare?

I recently received an email from a friend asking about biting. A family close to her was told to find a new childcare setting for their 18 month-old because their toddler was biting other kids.

As I read the message, I felt heaviness in my heart for the toddler and her family and compassion for the bitten children and their families. I noticed my desire to work with the teachers and center director, understanding the competing demands of a busy toddler room. And, it reminded me that biting is a common and “painful” stage of typical growth and development.

Toddlers bite.

Below are tips for helping to reduce biting in toddler classrooms.

Before jumping to advice, I have come to believe our most valuable tools for these challenging situations and experiences are: self-awareness, empathy, and kind-heartedness.

For example, what is your response to a toddler expelled for biting? What judgments do you have about the biter, victim, parents, and teachers? With whom do you identify? Continue reading

Newborn Tips for Grandparents, Homevisitors, & Parents

My newsletter and blog have been on maternity leave for the past few months. More accurately, it was grandparent leave. My attention and energy consumed by saying hello to the tiny human who shares my ancestry, my love, and my home.

During the first eight weeks of my grandbaby’s life, she and her parents lived in our home. It was incredible and inspiring. The experience was incredible because each day I witnessed the details of child development and new parenting. And it was inspiring because I experienced the amazing village that welcomed our granddaughter. My grandchild allowed me to experience what it means to be born into a community of love, consistency, and kindness.

While away from my computer, I have thought about writing and learning. There were many moments when I thought my experience might be of benefit to other grandparents, parents, and those working to support children and families. I was aware of my knowledge of neurobiological and infant development and watched as neurons connected each day before our eyes.

Grandparents, friends, parent educators, and other supportive adults! Here are the top eight lessons from the first two months. Continue reading

Teach Your Child To Say Thank You

Holidays and birthdays are a fertile training ground and opportunity for practicing manners. As we exit the season of gift giving, many parents are left wondering if their children missed a few lessons. Saying “please” and “thank-you” are essential social skills but children don’t always use these niceties.

The authors of the book, Making Habits, Breaking Habits: Why We Do Things, Why We Don’t, and How to Make Any Change Stick, conclude that based on science, “deliberate practice” and persistence create the habit. In the language of parenting – gentle reminders, consistent practice, and supportive suggestions help your children learn how and when to respond. And, because children are continuously developing, so too must our teaching. Continue reading