East Haddam Family Resource Center

Healthy and Successful Children – Nurturing Families – Supportive Community

Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers

High profile acts of violence, particularly in schools, can confuse and frighten children who may feel in danger or worry that their friends or loved-ones are at risk. They will look to adults for information and guidance on how to react. Parents and school personnel can help children feel safe by establishing a sense of normalcy and security and talking with them about their fears.
1. Reassure children that they are safe. Emphasize that schools are very safe. Validate
their feelings. Explain that all feelings are okay when a tragedy occurs. Let children talk
about their feelings, help put them into perspective, and assist them in expressing these
feelings appropriately.
2. Make time to talk. Let their questions be your guide as to how much information to
provide. Be patient; children and youth do not always talk about their feelings readily.
Watch for clues that they may want to talk, such as hovering around while you do the
dishes or yard work. Some children prefer writing, playing music, or doing an art project as an outlet. Young children may need concrete activities (such as drawing, looking at picture books, or imaginative play) to help them identify and express their feelings.
3. Keep your explanations developmentally appropriate.
• Early elementary school children need brief, simple information that should be
balanced with reassurances that their school and homes are safe and that adults are
there to protect them. Give simple examples of school safety like reminding children
about exterior doors being locked, child monitoring efforts on the playground, and
emergency drills practiced during the school day.
• Upper elementary and early middle school children will be more vocal in asking
questions about whether they truly are safe and what is being done at their school.
They may need assistance separating reality from fantasy. Discuss efforts of school and
community leaders to provide safe schools.
• Upper middle school and high school students will have strong and varying opinions
about the causes of violence in schools and society. They will share concrete
suggestions about how to make school safer and how to prevent tragedies in society.
Emphasize the role that students have in maintaining safe schools by following school
safety guidelines (e.g. not providing building access to strangers, reporting strangers on
campus, reporting threats to the school safety made by students or community
members, etc.), communicating any personal safety concerns to school administrators,
and accessing support for emotional needs.
4. Review safety procedures. This should include procedures and safeguards at school and at home. Help children identify at least one adult at school and in the community to whom they go if they feel threatened or at risk.
5. Observe children’s emotional state. Some children may not express their concerns
verbally. Changes in behavior, appetite, and sleep patterns can also indicate a child’s level of anxiety or discomfort. In most children, these symptoms will ease with reassurance and time. However, some children may be at risk for more intense reactions. Children who have had a past traumatic experience or personal loss, suffer from depression or other mental illness, or with special needs may be at greater risk for severe reactions than others. Seek the help of mental health professional if you are at all concerned.
6. Limit television viewing of these events. Limit television viewing and be aware if the
television is on in common areas. Developmentally inappropriate information can cause
anxiety or confusion, particularly in young children. Adults also need to be mindful of the content of conversations that they have with each other in front of children, even
teenagers, and limit their exposure to vengeful, hateful, and angry comments that might be misunderstood.
7. Maintain a normal routine. Keeping to a regular schedule can be reassuring and
promote physical health. Ensure that children get plenty of sleep, regular meals, and
exercise. Encourage them to keep up with their schoolwork and extracurricular activities but don’t push them if they seem overwhelmed.
Suggested Points to Emphasize When Talking to Children
• Schools are safe places. School staff works with parents and public safety providers (local
police and fire departments, emergency responders, hospitals, etc.) to keep you safe.
• The school building is safe because … (cite specific school procedures).
• We all play a role in the school safety. Be observant and let an adult know if you see or hear something that makes you feel uncomfortable, nervous or frightened.
• There is a difference between reporting, tattling or gossiping. You can provide important information that may prevent harm either directly or anonymously by telling a trusted adult what you know or hear.
• Although there is no absolute guarantee that something bad will never happen, it is
important to understand the difference between the possibility of something happening
and probability that it will affect you (our school community).
• Senseless violence is hard for everyone to understand. Doing things that you enjoy, sticking to your normal routine, and being with friends and family help make us feel better and keep us from worrying about the event.
• Sometimes people do bad things that hurt others. They may be unable to handle their
anger, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or suffering from mental illness. Adults
(parents, teachers, police officers, doctors, faith leaders) work very hard to get those people help and keep them from hurting others. It is important for all of us to know how to get help if we feel really upset or angry and to stay away from drugs and alcohol.
• Stay away from guns and other weapons. Tell an adult if you know someone has a gun.
Access to guns is one of the leading risk factors for deadly violence.
• Violence is never a solution to personal problems. Students can be part of the positive
solution by participating in anti-violence programs at school, learning conflict mediation
skills, and seeking help from an adult if they or a peer is struggling with anger, depression, or other emotions they cannot control.

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Kindergarten Readiness Program

 

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On your Mark, Get Set,

Get Ready for Kindergarten

The Family Resource Center is offering a Kindergarten Readiness program for children ages 3 ½ and up. This program will allow children preparing for Kindergarten to enhance their development in areas such as creative expression, cognitive development, executive functioning, language and literacy development and social and emotional development.

Registration is required. Space is limited. Class will begin November 14, 2017 and will be held every Tuesday from 10:00am -11:30am.  Group will be held at the Family Resource Center in East Haddam Elementary School. To register or for more information on programs at the Family Resource Center, email or call Early Childhood Coordinator, Lauren Kasperowski at 860-873-3296 or lauren.kasperowski@yahoo.com Please indicate the age of the child attending. Registration deadline is October 31, 2017.

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Developmental Playgroup Begins September 18th!

Children ages birth to age 5 can gather, learn, sing, hear stories and create with others in a play based setting.  Group meets on Mondays and Fridays from 10:00am-11:00am.

This no cost program does not require registration.  The group takes place in the Family Resource Center which is  located in the East Haddam Elementary School, 45 Joe Williams Road, Moodus. Contact Early Childhood Coordinator with any questions. 

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Can Less-Than-Perfect Really be Enough?

Usually the need to be perfect comes from a bit of anxiety. Worried that something might go wrong, a person tries to figure out the situation and apply the best approach so the chance of success is higher. If you can figure it out and it works, there is relief and satisfaction. Job well done! But then the next situation starts and you have to get back at it. And life gets more complex and there are multiple situations at the same time. You don’t always get it right and that is embarrassing so you have to try harder and harder. It gets exhausting.

 

People may start to notice is how hard you are working but something about it isn’t quite working. The desire to make everything right is there, but the outcome of everything being all right isn’t there.

 

It can be so confusing.

 

Being “good enough” doesn’t actually sound good enough on the surface. When you are used to overachieving, it no longer feels like over-achieving. It just feels like the normal amount of effort required.

 

In parenting, we worry that if we are only good enough parents, our children won’t have the same opportunities or success that other children seem to have. Our children deserve the best so we must be the best. Except….

 

Good enough parenting is actually what our children need from us. This is backed up by research (“Raising A Secure Child” is a book dedicated to explaining this). Good enough parenting is when we can hold on to two things: first, that we are willing to hold onto our children’s best interests and second, that we will mess it up… probably pretty often.

 

There is nothing clean about raising children. It will get messy in more than one way. Being good enough takes the pressure and anxiety out of the equation. When we know that we will mess it up, we aren’t trying to anticipate the situation for the “exact right way”. We are just in the situation, present to it and to our children. If it starts to get off track, we will notice it sooner and pause to see where it got off track. We may have to take charge and make a decision. We may have to apologize for not getting it and ask for clarification. We may have to figure it out together and come up with a compromise.

 

No matter how the situation gets resolved, being good enough will feel better for both you and the other person. Being a good enough parent will teach your child that you love them, want the best for them and are willing to get messy while you figure it out. It will teach your child that there are many ways to work something out and that you are in it together with them. You will come from a place of comfortable figuring-it-out-together instead of a place of uncomfortable have-to-figure-it-all-out-perfectly-now.

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Image result for kindergarten readiness

On your Mark, Get Set,

Get Ready for Kindergarten

The Family Resource Center is offering a Kindergarten Readiness program for children ages 3 ½ and up. This program will allow children preparing for Kindergarten to enhance their development in areas such as creative expression, cognitive development, executive functioning, language and literacy development and social and emotional development.

Registration is required. Space is limited. Class will begin November 15, 2016 and will be held every Tuesday from 10:00am -11:00am.  Group will be held at the Family Resource Center in East Haddam Elementary School. To register or for more information on programs at the Family Resource Center, email or call Early Childhood Coordinator, Lauren Kasperowski at 860-873-3296 or lauren.kasperowski@yahoo.com Please indicate the age of the child attending.

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Mindful Parenting Workshop

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MINDFUL PARENTING

OCTOBER 25, 2016
6:00pm to 7:30pm
East Haddam Elementary School, Room #205
Join with Martha Rouleau, Mindfulness coach, educator and consultant to learn:
• Simple Explanations: How the brain works and why parents & kids today often feel stressed and anxious, as well as the impact of adult emotions on children.
• Practical Solutions: Things parents can do to create a more relaxed and happier home by recognizing personal patterns of reacting to others and strengthening relationships.
• Quick Tips: that can be used in the moment to help families relax, recharge, provide full attention and create happiness.

Simple and powerful solutions for raising creative, engaged and powerful kids in today’s hectic world

Childcare Available

No Cost Workshop

To register email Lauren Kasperowski at lauren.kasperowski@yahoo.com
Indicate age of child(ren) if childcare is requested

Workshop appropriate for parents, caregivers and childcare providers

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Playgroups have begun to meet!

Children ages birth to age 5 can gather with their caregivers to learn, sing, hear stories and crate with others in a play based setting.  Playgroups meet Monday and Friday from 10:00am-11:00am.  This no cost program does not require registration.  Email or call Early Childhood Coordinator, Lauren Kasperowski at lauren.kasperowski@yahoo.com or 860-873-3296 with any questions.  The Family Resource Center is located in the East Haddam Elementary School, 45 Joe Williams Road, Moodus.

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Parent/Provider Workshop

The East Haddam Early Childhood Council is excited to host the following workshop!

MIndful Parenting

March 22, 2016

6:00pm to 7:30pm

East Haddam Elementary School, Room #304

Join with Martha Rouleau, Mindfulness coach, educator and consultant to learn:

  • Simple Explanations: How the brain works and why parents & kids today often feel stressed and anxious, as well as the impact of adult emotions on children.
  • Practical Solutions: Things parents can do to create a more relaxed and happier home by recognizing personal patterns of reacting to others and strengthening relationships.
  • Quick Tips: that can be used in the moment to help families relax, recharge, provide full attention and create happiness.

Simple and powerful solutions for raising creative, engaged and powerful kids in today’s hectic world

Childcare Available

No Cost Workshop

To register email Lauren Kasperowski at lauren.kasperowski@yahoo.com

Indicate age of child(ren) if childcare is requested

 Workshop appropriate for parents, caregivers and childcare providers

logo-hands-final

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Parent/Provider Workshop

The East Haddam Early Childhood Council is Excited to Present the Following Workshop:

 

Enhancing Speech and Language in the Young Child

 What? Workshop is focused on how to encourage, enhance and develop language in the young child. You will receive play time activities,speech/language enrichment, developmental information, and opportunities to ask questions!

Who? Parents, caregivers, and providers of young children.

 When? Wednesday March 9, 2016. 6:00pm-7:00pm Childcare available!

 Where? East Haddam Elementary School Room 108

 Cost? FREE!

 How? Register by emailing Lauren Kasperowski at lauren.kasperowski@yahoo.com by calling 860-873-3296 or sign up at the Family Resource Center!

When registering, please provide name and age of child if childcare will be used.

 

This workshop will be facilitated by Erin Kaiser, MA, CCC-SLP. Erin is a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist with over 9 years of experience working with children and adults.

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When Parents Expect Too Much

When Parents Expect Too Much: The Dirty Dozen

Let’s start with three questions:

  1. What percentage of typically-developing 4-year-olds lie?
  2. What percentage of 2-3 year olds have daily temper tantrums?
  3. How many times per hour do 3-7 year old siblings fight?

Why are these questions important? They’re important because when your children engage in misbehavior like these, how you feel about what they’re doing is going to depend on how unusual or bad you think their behavior is. Then, how you manage the situation will depend on how you feel. So, basically, the more unusual or uncalled for you think the behavior is, the more likely you are to get very upset and to handle the situation in an overly harsh—and perhaps even abusive way.

Example: Your 4-year-old son hides candy under his pillow. When you ask him how the candy got to his bed, he says someone else put it there. Your belief or expectation is that lying is totally uncalled for and that very few children of any age lie. So, you wash his mouth out with soap.

Was that a good strategy? No. Why? Here’s the answer to the first question: 90% of 4 year olds lie! A full 90%. The 4-year-old’s brain is more developed than a 2-year- olds (only 20% of 2-year-olds lie), so the older kids can conceive of the possibility that making up a story is one way to get out of trouble. They’re experimenting, which is a normal part of childhood.

Some Behaviors are Normal

The Lesson: Some behavior is bad but it is also normal. Should you ignore bad behavior? Of course not. You need to deal with it but not overreact to it. You need a consistent strategy based on realistic thinking. For each problem behavior answer these two questions: 1) What should I think? and 2) What should I do?

What about tantrums? 20% of 2-3-year-olds have daily tantrums. Use counting or the “Tantrums are for your room” method. Three to seven-year-olds fight on average three to four times per hour. Count both children, and never ask the world’s worst question: “Who started it?”

 Expecting the wrong thing or the impossible from your children makes you upset and less likely to be a good disciplinarian. Two-year-olds don’t read novels. Learn the 12 behaviors that most often trigger goofy parental assumptions in our latest Quick Reference Guide, When Parents Expect Too Much: The Dirty Dozen.

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