The Early Years Podcast
Summary: The Early Years podcast is about supporting your young child’s development though everyday moments and activities. Each week we will explore topics that help you as parents and caregivers to sing, play, bond, and teach children in a creative, loving, and respectful way. We will offer support as you parent your young child through the critical early years of birth to five years old. These are years of rapid growth and development as a baby becomes a toddler, and then a young child. You, the parent, teach your child skills everyday through interactions, daily routines, new experiences, and play. You are critical to your child’s development. You are an engage parent and you are giving your child an enriched childhood. Each week, my guest and I will discuss topics and ideas relating to the early years of childhood. We explore ways for you to engage your child and support their development through everyday moments. We will be your parenting coaches to help you enrich their childhood, your days and your lives together.
It’s the time of year to start thinking about enrolling your child for preschool in the fall. Where do you start? In this episode, we talk about what to look for in a preschool in terms of number of students, teacher interactions, playground safety, and general impressions. We want our children to have a preschool experience that builds on learning through play and enhances a child’s love of learning. There is a lot to think about!
Often parents are concerned because their 18-24 month old child isn’t talking. In this episode, we share information about language development at 18 and 24 months. We also discuss points to help you understand your child’s communication development. It is important to look at what the child understands receptively. Do you think your child understands simple everyday words? How can you tell? Another important question is how is your child communicating? Communication is more than using words, it encompasses using gestures, facial expressions, and sounds. We offer specific ideas to work into your daily routines and your child’s play to help support their language development.
Dr. Lauren Burke, DPT, PT, a physical therapist who specializes in early intervention, joined me for this episode to talk about the importance of crawling for a child’s overall development. We start with tummy time and how the physical skills that a young baby learns through tummy time help lay the foundation for crawling. Lauren also shared ideas for parents to engage their child during tummy time making this important skill more interactive and enjoyable. This conversation covers the steps that come before crawling as well as ideas for encouraging crawling. We also talk about how and when to work on stairs, why to avoid using baby walkers, and when to be concerned about a baby’s physical skills.
In our last episode, we talked about the concerns regarding screen time and young children. In this episode, I’m talking about how we can rethink screen time to make it more interactive and develop a family media plan that outlines the why, what, when, and where for of your child using screen time. By setting a structure and following it, it helps you manage your child’s screen time as well as their expectations.
We are talking about young children and screen time in this episode. The use of screens (phones, tablets, televisions, computers, game systems) is a significant concern for us as early interventionist. If you look around, many children are spending a lot of time on screens. What is the effect on their development when they spend more time on a screen instead of playing and interacting? We discuss research about the effects as well as difference between passive screen time and constructive playtime on a young child’s development. Step back and look at how your child is engaging in screen time. It’s time to evaluated the concerns and effects.
Dealing with a child’s behavior can be a challenge. Often, we are tired or stressed and then we are reactionary to our child’s behavior. Instead of having a plan in place to address the behavior proactively, we react when the behavior occurs. In this episode, we are going to talk about reframing your child’s behavior and then addressing it in a proactive and supportive way. Behavior is communication. As the parent and caregiver, we need to be able to identify the communication of the behavior. What is your child trying to tell you through their behavior? Join us as me as I interview Dr. Alycia Chapman about a specific behavior, communication strategies to support children and their behavior..
After last week’s episode on distracted parenting, this week we are talking about the positives and negatives of social media. Do you know how much of your day or week, you spend on social media or your phone in general? Does that time benefit your life? Or are there other things you would rather be doing? In this episode, we get really honest about our own use of social media and technology. We talk about how to find the amount of time you are spending on your phone and apps as well as apps to decrease your use (https://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/apps-to-reduce-screen-time-iphone-android/). Remember, it’s not just about the effect of social media on your life but the effect on your child’s development. Children are watching and learning from our actions every day. Are you modeling healthy boundaries with technology and social media for your child?
Cell phones have changed the way we live and parent. For many parents, cell phones give them a way to manage work responsibilities, maintain social contacts, document everyday moments, and provide an escape from daily life. What is the effect of parental use of phones on a young child’s development? It’s not good. Distracted parenting is defined as “parental overuse of hand held technology, particularly cell phones and tables in the presence of children” (Carrie Shrier, Michigan State University Extension). Children often have to compete with a cell phone for their parent’s attention. Parents can be physically present but emotionally unavailable because they are involved with their phone. The constant notifications interrupt the flow of the parent and child interactions that are key to developing a child’s language, social emotional, and cognitive skills. What can you do? Reflect on your phone usage when you are with your child and become aware of how it is impacting your child’s development. Make a conscious plan and set guidelines for how you are going to manage your phone use so that you can be present and more available to your child.
In winter, it is not as easy to take children outside to play. Whether is it cold, snowy, or icy sometimes we keep the children inside. That can lead to a lot of inside time. Then we start to run out of things to do and ideas to keep our children as well as ourselves engaged. In this episode, we are talking about how to manage winter weather with your young children without becoming desperate! The first step is to have a plan. Think through ideas that you can use when winter weather is making your day a challenge. We talk about ways bundle up and play outside as well as finding activities for inside. It is also important to remember to take time for yourself and your self care on these days. Hopefully, we can give you some ideas for your own winter weather plan.
It is always hard to get back into a routine with young children after holidays, work schedule changes, vacations, or illness. In this episode, I’m talking about ways to help your child get back into the regular daily routine. Prioritizing family meals, one on one time, bedtime routines, and limiting screen time are a few of the ideas I share to help your child transition back into the routine. Consistency and patience will be key factors in this process. Following these suggestions can make the process less stressful on both you and your child.
“At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents. “ -Jane D. Hull It’s a new year and I’m not making any resolutions. I’m not good at keeping them. And the word of the year? I usually forget the word by the end of January. But I do set intentions which I put on my refrigerator as a way of keeping them visible and in my mind. These intentions help to guide my days by setting a framework for how I want to show up in my life. Each day, as I reach for the milk for my coffee, I read through my list and set the intention for my day. Some days I do a better with it than others but instead of abandoning them, I just reset the next morning. Do you have ways that you want to show up this year? What kind of parent do you want to be this year? Join me as I talk about parenting intentions for the new year.
We are finishing our conversation about gifts ideas, focusing this week on toys for children 3-5 years old. We are talking about what to look for in a developmentally appropriate toy for a young child in this age range. In our discussion, we go through the ages, talking about what children that age are doing developmentally, and what kinds of toys support their growth. Children learn through play and we want toys to support that learning by engaging the child’s mind and imagination!
Are you going to be giving a gift to a young child this holiday season? A gift for a child who is between birth and three years old? This episode is for you! We are talking about what to look for in a developmentally appropriate toy for a young child. In our discussion, we go through the age ranges, talking about what children that age are doing developmentally, and what kinds of toys support their growth.
The idea for this episode was to discuss children making holiday gifts as a way of participating in the season. For many children and adults, making gifts is an expression of creativity and love. Giving should not be limited to the holidays. Parents and caregivers can model the spirit of giving throughout the year by gifts of talent, time, and money to people and organizations in the community. Hopefully, our discussion will help you think of ways your family can give by acts of kindness, volunteering, and donating. Talking with your child about the acts helps them process and learn about the spirit of giving. A child who is raised in a family that values giving becomes an adult who values giving.
Here’s a radical idea for parents and caregivers- practicing self care is essential to being an engaged parent. Bold statement? Yes, but before you dismiss the idea and tell me you don’t have time or any other reason why you can’t practice self care, hear me out. Self care is a way of nurturing our soul, spirit, and body in order to be emotionally and physically healthy. It is almost impossible to nourish your child’s soul, spirit, and body if you aren’t taking care of your own needs. In this episode, I’m talking about ways to practice self care in hopes that you can not only identify ways to do this but also prioritize it. Think of self care in this way- if you are getting your child a drink but the pitcher is empty, you can’t fill up their cup, can you? If you’re running on empty because you haven’t taking care of yourself, you can’t fill their heart. What’s one thing you can do today to start to care for and replenish yourself?