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In the midst of tragedy

Sunday, October 08, 2017

 

When tragedy strikes, children may reach out with questions or begin to experience emotions that require responsive, caring, and thoughtful approaches to their concern for safety and security. Tragedy leaves many people (including adults) feeling helpless and searching for meaning in a situation that is scary and unpredictable.

Here are some supportive ideas to guide meaningful discussion:

Encourage discussion by offering a safe place to share feelings.
• Validate a child’s emotions and thank them for sharing. Say something like, “Thank you for telling me you are feeling sad. I see you are really upset. I am sad too.”
• Encourage the child’s ability to share, and give tools to help understand feelings and promote healing. Encourage children to journal, use creative art, or practice traditional coping skills (deep breathing, yoga, or physical movement).
• Be aware of changes in behavior that may require us to provide extra attention or affection. Traumatic events may leave children feeling scared and reminding them there are supportive, caring individuals who are consistently present and willing to invest their time can help helpful for the healing process. Keep routines as consistent as possible, but take time to invest in a little more attention by connecting through collaborative play.

Activities to support children after traumatic events:
• Offer ways for children to help. Stress can derive from a feeling of helplessness. Find opportunities for children to contribute by writing letters of gratitude to first responders, collecting needed items for donating to help, or write letters to individuals who may be injured.
• Discuss and role-play the work of emergency responders. This provides an opportunity to discuss how there are people who work to prevent and protect us from harm.
• Influence children by teaching acceptance, tolerance, and kindness. The children can work together to create a classroom culture that influences the behavior of others. Chart ideas of how they can work together to be respectful toward each other and be a positive influence in the classroom, their home, and in the community.
• It can also be helpful to point out the people who are showing care and kindness during traumatic events. To show the many people who do good in the world can greatly outweigh the one individual who caused pain and disruption.

During times of trauma it is important to be in tune with children’s behavior and reactions. Redirect strong emotions to healthy ways to cope. Consider the age of the child when responding to questions and concerns. Be in tune with your own emotions so that you know when to take a break from tough conversations to avoid adding additional stress through an emotional response. You aren’t expected to have all of the answers to difficult questions and sometimes the answer is, “I don’t know.” Also, encourage families to turn off media updates for a time and spend time reconnecting children to play experiences, reading stories together, or just snuggling on the couch.

 

Celestte Dills, MEd

 

Childhood Bullying – Stop it Before it Ever Begins… and Really Bad Things Happen

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

By Rodney E Henderson

June 16, 2014

“Bullying is a choice… the power to choose is yours”        

 -    www.whatdoyouchoose.org

This last article in this series is in its naked sense, an appeal to my core audience, parents of young children who have the greatest opportunity to squelch the social disease of bullying. Following up on the premise established in my prior article, which is to take a contrarian view to published writings for the purpose of driving my own points home, I have taken an abstract from another source on anti-bullying that I believe, while well intended, actually serves as an impediment rather than support to the solution. The issue is determining the target audience and in the case discussed herein, the target audience is the children themselves. The words themselves are very wholesome and flow well, but I’m afraid that they are far more form than substance. As I have stated repeatedly throughout the series, I believe profound impact in changing the course of this social disease will only come about through the mods of young children, and unquestionably, it is the parents who wield the greatest influence on these young minds.

anti-bullying

Staying true to my own challenge to ‘be real,’ to not get caught up in words that sound nice but are impractical, I recognize that the environment that nurtures the bully mentality is void of parental guidance, either physically (one or both are not a part of the child’s life), or mentally where there is an apathetic view to this issue, or worse, and encouraging one in a negative way. In this case, my plea for parental guidance is in vein which simply brings me to the 2nd most powerful sphere of influence in the young mind, school teachers. As in all aspects of early childhood development, it is the combined and reinforcing effort of parents and teachers that shapes the child’s mind for the future. If I could have my way, I would have parents go through a simple curriculum on this pervasive issue but then I would be guilty of one of my own tenets which is to offer practical advice that can be acted on.

In concluding this series, the single most important argument I have been making and supporting is that a curriculum and lessons on anti-bullying need to take place before this behavior ever manifests itself. It’s no different than the decades long war on drugs – it’s a whole lot easier to keep children off of the hard stud than it is to get them off of them after they have become addicted.

  As stated before - this is a long term investment with life-long repercussions.

Anti-Bullying

Yours in early childhood development,

Rodney E Henderson

 For more information and to receive our FREE newsletter visit us at http://www.littlelambkidz.com and http://www.scd.littlelambkidz.com.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Rodney_E_Henderson 

Childhood Bullying- Stop It Before It Ever Begins... and Really bad Things Happen

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

By Rodney E Henderson

June 9, 2014

“Bullying can start as early as 3rd grade, and peak in middle school and high school.”        

 -    www.what doyouchoose.org

 As we start to wind down this series, I have chosen to take a contrarian position to some articles and statistics I have reviewed in the process of working on these articles. While all these sites are well-intended, I cannot help think that academia based on cold statistics rather than real life experiences have governed their findings. Bullying can start as early as 3rd grade??? I don’t mean to mock the writer, but are you kidding me? Statistics be damned – I will state unflinchingly that bullying can start as early as pre-school and is very prevalent in 3rd grade (9 to 10 year olds), rather than ‘can start...’ Perhaps the statement was referencing a particular form of bullying, but it did not say, and in support of all my writings to this point, I feel compelled to drive home the point that the seeds of bullying and anti-bullying are planted before this behavior ever manifests itself. A child does not really understand the exact meaning of the words ‘please’ and ‘thank you,’ but they know that they are good things because in a healthy environment, they receive positive reinforcement of some kind every time they say these words.


As stated in prior articles, early childhood development takes a very linear approach to learning – entertainment which captures the child’s attention, sticky learning through some form of ongoing activity (e.g. games), and positive reinforcement from the child’s sphere of influence. This cannot happen without the direct and support of the primary sphere of influence in a young child’s life – their parents.

Anti-Bullying

Yours in early childhood development,

Rodney E Henderson

 For more information and to receive our FREE newsletter visit us at http://www.littlelambkidz.com and http://www.scd.littlelambkidz.com.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Rodney_E_Henderson 

Childhood Bullying – Stop it Before it Ever Begins… and Really Bad Things Happen

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

(3rd of a 6 Part Series)

 

By Rodney E Henderson

February 17, 2014

“1 in 4 teachers sees nothing wrong with bullying and will only intervene 4% of the time.”        

 -    www.bullyingstatistics.org

Respect, compassion and understanding - nice, wholesome words that have not penetrated   the consciousness of the average 3-7 year old. Sure, the lessons of respect your elders and authority figures is commonplace in this age group, but what about respecting their peers, or better yet, peers that are different in obvious way(s)? One does not need to be convinced that respect learned at this age for their peers would go a long way towards heading off their propensity to bully another at that age, or later in life. The challenge here is not the argument itself but rather, the ‘how to’? As noted in the prior article, the key to learning is repetition, and for me to suggest that you need to talk to your child on the lessons of respect, compassion and understanding on a daily basis is not only impractical, but would be hypocritical on my part – our schedules simply do not permit it on a consistent basis. But what if your child asked you to explain the lessons of respect, compassion and understanding with regard to their peers? The greatest battle has been won before it even started – to gain their attention!


Again, nice point, but where is the ‘how to’? No, you didn’t miss it. The ‘how to’ lies in the most important attribute of learning for the young mind second to repetition – it must be entertaining! The greatest lessons in the world fall on deaf ears if no one is listening, and this is true at home as well as in school. Now we are bringing the ‘how to’ down to a tangible level that can be practically implemented. By repeating the lessons of respect, compassion and understanding in a manner that entertains the young mind, you have not only captured their attention, but you now have them asking for more. Better yet, you will have them wanting to engage with you, where they will actually facilitate the conversation. At this point, the rest is up to you.


In a sense, we are looking to brand the lessons of respect, compassion and understanding in the same manner that any commercial product is branded. The attached infographic is certainly not designed for the 3-7 age group, but if the child associates the character figures displayed throughout the graphic with characters that they have gotten familiar with in other media targeted for them, conversation will inevitably ensue. It should be clear to the reader that this is a subject that I am passionate about, and part of the fallout of my passion was the development of a wholesome set of children’s media characters (Little Lamb Kidz) that disseminate the life lessons discussed herein. An entire curriculum is being developed for both the home and school environments to facilitate these lessons and while I would love for you to consider this as your primary source for this area of child development, many other exist – the real win here is for you to just take action and become part of the solution to the social disease of bullying.

Yours in early childhood development,

Rodney E Henderson

 For more information and to receive our FREE newsletter visit us at http://www.littlelambkidz.com and http://www.scd.littlelambkidz.com.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Rodney_E_Henderson 

Why RCU - Respect, Compassion, and Understanding Need to be Taught in Schools?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

* RCU will battle bullying and offer lessons in conflict resolution

For children as well as for adults, one of the most important things to remember on a day-to-day basis is the consistent necessity for three important things in life, and they happen to be, respect, compassion, and understanding. These three things are integral to all of us in order to have a happy and fulfilling life that is full and well-rounded. In all aspects of our lives, these three words carry an immense value, and furthermore, they are vital to the overall happiness and interpersonal relationships between individuals of all ages, and who come from all different types of demographics. Especially when it comes to children, the words respect, compassion, and understanding are extremely vital to their overall growth and sincere ability for love in general. The future of a child depends on the words, respect, compassion, and understanding in a big way.

Respect, compassion, and understanding have been shortened to simply read RCU. RCU, as a whole, is necessary in schools due to the fact that RCU is geared for battling the issues of bullying in a variety of different ways. RCU is helpful in offering lessons in conflict resolution to children of all ages. In this day and age, bullying tends to be a consistent problem that is occurring in many schools as of late, and this bullying problem definitely needs to be addressed, and fast. Children who engage in bullying behavior have been showed to quell their actions when confronted with children who exhibit a high level of respect, compassion, and understanding or (RCU). Children who are looking to protect themselves from bullying are able to actualize these three very powerful words and to stand up for themselves against bullying in a way that is non-threatening, extremely non-violent, as well as not negative in any way, shape, or form. Finally, RCU is a way for children to exhibit a voice against bullying without the need for aggression, anger, or sadness. 

Here at Little Lamb Kidz, we strive, for the ultimate goal at hand, which is bringing a high level of respect, compassion, and understanding (RCU) to people in general, but especially, to children in schools across the nation. Respect, compassion, and understanding (RCU) are truly the cornerstones from which we all get our inspiration from when we created our child development products. Due to the fact that we offer products which are geared for child development, we are now excited to be introducing products aimed within the very imperative idea of how to stop bullying in schools for good, since it has been such a relevant topic across the country. Here at Little Lamb Kidz, we fortunately have the ability to get rid of bullying in schools by encouraging a high level of respect, compassion, and understanding (RCU) to children of all ages, and that is exactly what we are doing. We find it necessary to instill these three little words, respect, compassion, and understanding (RCU) in children as much as possible, as to help them achieve high levels of conflict resolution skills and to stop other children from bullying them as much as possible. We feel that if we have helped one child to stop bullying others and to learn respect, compassion, and understanding, then we have done a great job. There is no reason for children to have to deal with bullying at all, especially in schools, where children should always feel safe and secure, and that is why we have focused a great amount of attention on this topic. For more information on bullying in schools and how RCU can help, visit www.littlelambkidz.com today! 

Childhood Bullying – Stop it Before it Ever Begins… and Really Bad Things Happen

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

(2nd of a 6 Part Series)

 

By Rodney E Henderson

February 10, 2014

“Some of the top years for bullying include 4th through 8th graders in which 90 percent were reported as victims of some kind of bullying.”        

 -    www.bullyingstatistics.org


In my introduction to this subject, I stated that my target audience was children ages 3 to 7 yet, the citation I used to lead in to this article references kids ages 9-18. This contradiction is purposely highlighted to bring to attention a core tenet of my beliefs in this area – that if you wait until the issue of bullying actually appears, you have not only waited too long to address the issue, but you have also made its resolution exponentially more difficult. In my view, the single biggest point I hope to impress upon you is that the tools and behaviors to combat this social disease need to take place well in advance of the ages where it predominantly manifests itself. The good news is that if you buy into this one simple premise, then half (more?) the battle is won because the basic tenets to fighting this disease are the basic tenets to living a good and moral life and are encapsulated in three simple but oh-so-powerful words – respect, compassion and understanding. Alright, I can see some of the eyes rolling already and some of you are already nick naming me Captain Obvious, but the the power and challenge of this statement comes to play by asking a simple question that only you can answer honestly – how much exposure has your child had to these simple words? Do they even understand at any level what they mean?


The point that I am trying to drive home is that while the vast majority of us get it (those that don’t are already part of the problem and a subject that will be addressed in a later discussion), that these are wonderful words with substantive meaning, it is a minority that actually bring these words to life in their everyday affairs. This is where I do not want to be guilty of some of the impractical suggestions offered by my well-meaning academic counterparts. While it would be wonderful to have sat down with my kids on a consistent basis to discuss these words, their meaning and the impact they could have on their lives, my lack of discipline and focus on other matters such as putting food on the table (alright, and watching football) would not have allowed this to happen on a consistent basis and as we all know, repetition is the key to learning.

At this point, we have identified the audience, the problem, and the 50,000 foot level solution. In the next article, we will drop the ceiling down to a lower level with practical and tangible ways to bring the lessons of respect, compassion and understanding into your household.


Yours in early childhood development,

Rodney E Henderson

 For more information and to receive our FREE newsletter visit us at http://www.littlelambkidz.com and http://www.scd.littlelambkidz.com.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Rodney_E_Henderson 

Childhood Bullying – Stop it Before it Ever Begins… and Really Bad Things Happen

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

By Rodney E Henderson

February 3, 2014

-       There are about 160,000 children that miss school every day out of fear of being bullied.

           -    www.bullyingstatistics.org

There isn’t a caring parent in the world that has not experienced a bullying episode of some kind in their child’s life. While I appreciate the vast amount of information and guidance offered by the numerous websites on bullying, I find many of the ideas offered are somewhat impractical – great on paper, not so great in practice. To be clear, I am drafting these thoughts not as a recognized expert in the field of anti-bullying, but as your everyday caring parent of 2 kids. I am no more an expert than the vast majority of readers of this article. Think of me as a moderator of my peers rather than a field expert - the value I bring to the table is that I am taking the time (and hopefully saving yours) to put these thoughts in front of you in the hopes of raising your level of consciousness on this most important subject and ultimately, to spur you to action of some kind. Whether you buy in to some of the suggestions and directions I put forth or choose your own path in combating this social disease, taking action of some kind will have justified the investment of my time in this purpose. 


Our starting point in this 6 part series is to define our target audience – 3-7 year olds -  and to offer my own 50,000 foot level on how I have addressed this in my kids’ lives  and so firmly believe is the critical tenet in addressing this issue. My high level view is going to sound incredibly simplistic and will probably cause some eyes to roll, but if you have read this far, I am thinking that I have earned another few minutes from you to look for the next discussion points in this series.

 

Yours in early childhood development,

Rodney E Henderson

 For more information and to receive our FREE newsletter visit us at http://www.littlelambkidz.com and http://www.scd.littlelambkidz.com.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Rodney_E_Henderson 

Respect, Compassion & Understanding - Part 6

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Foundation of Child Development Milestones

(6th of a 6 Part Series)

To this point, I have raised the issue of diversity and the critical importance of making Respect, Compassion and Understanding (RCU™) a foundation of your child’s life. If you have made it this far in the series, then I commend you for coming this far (and myself for succeeding in earning your attention). Now we look at practical ways of implementation. This starts with being realistic about how we communicate with our children. The greatest lessons in the world are useless if they fall on deaf ears. Before we actually get into the lessons themselves, we have to earn their attention, and at ages 3-7, it starts with entertainment. In full disclosure, I will be citing my own children’s based media company, Little Lamb Properties, as the model that I have chosen and am promoting to others. With an emphasis on all things that are important to the young child – color, sound and intriguing characters – Little Lamb Properties disseminates the lessons of RCU through a set of wholesome children’s media characters. Our stories focus on the issues of diversity and conflict resolution with the full intent of influencing the young mind before they are challenged by outside, and in many cases, negative influences. 

Our hope is that we have created characters that are interesting enough to invoke requests from the child to the parents for more. When this happens, we are now on the downslope of the challenge. In a very real sense, your child is now asking you to engage with them on the lessons of RCU™. Of course, this is not how they will pose it, but by opening a book and reading to them, or by spending some time with them on the interactive portion of the website, you will have a wide open door to expand on the lessons learned. These lessons are further reinforced on a daily basis by having licensed property touting these words throughout the house – pajamas, lunchboxes, toys, etc. Is this self-serving – yes and no. Yes in that we do benefit if you adopt Little Lamb Properties for this purpose, but no in that my bigger purpose is to initiate action on your part to adopt some form of entertainment that facilitates these life lessons.

Yours in early childhood development,
Rodney Henderson

Respect, Compassion & Understanding - Part 5

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Foundation of Child Development Milestones 

(5th in a 6 Part Series) 

Peer pressure – more so than family and teachers, it is perhaps the strongest influence on your child’s life. So is one to infer from this that our children’s development is at the luck and mercy of whomever they end up befriending (or who befriends them)? Not at all, but it does mean that we, as parents, need to take a proactive role in managing their influences and it starts with recognizing that this will not happen on its own. All too often, when it comes to the issue of diversity in the people that they meet, we take a passive role in the way that our children handle it – we leave it to their teachers in school systems that also bring the peer pressure dynamic to bear. In a sense, one offsets the influences of the other. This is all well and good if you are fortunate enough to see your child mixing with the right peer influences, but why leave this to chance? Get behind your child’s teachers or better yet, take a lead role in establishing the grounding principles of Respect, Compassion and Understanding (RCU™) – simple words, but when truly indoctrinated, are literally world changers. At the root cause of dissension and war today is a disregard for another person’s beliefs – a ‘my way is the only way’ mentality which then leads to the unfortunate and sometimes deadly response to others if they do not fall in line.

In the last part of this 6 part series, we will look at practical ways to get exert our influence insofar as making RCU™ a fabric of your child’s life.

Why Bullying Needs to Be Addressed at a Younger Age

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Children are the key to the future, they are the ones who will be leading, employing, working, and creating great change in the years to come. The reality is that since children are the future of the world, we need to do all that we can in order to protect them from forces that might otherwise hinder their abilities as loving and compassionate human beings and as adults in the future. It has been shown that children absorb much more information than adults, and this is why it is vitally important that the younger the child, the more important it is that they are exposed to a positive environment full of trust, understanding and an immense amount of security. With the right amount of security, trust, love, and positive nuances, children are able to lead lives that are full and best of all, happy. But, even more so, the reason that children must be exposed to great things early on is because of the fact that they are the key to the future, and the world and humanity depends on them, in a large sense of the word. The children of today will be the adults of tomorrow, and while it may seem like many years until children grow into adults. Adults with responsibilities, jobs, and bills, the years will pass by quickly since the world is an ongoing, changing organism that depends on humanity to live among each other as best as possible.

The bottom line is that problems arise when children and young adults don't feel good about themselves and are bullied for the way they look, for the way they think, or for the way they act. As of late, bullying has taken on a new and much more antagonistic form. The respect that was deemed a usual occurrence between individuals decades ago seems to be lost in many cases today. Manners are beginning to wane and disrespect and outright negativity seems to be taking over. While this is a problem for all, adults and children included, the main issue seems to occur when children are bullied by others when they are in "supposed" safe environments such as in school or on the playground. When children are bullied, they are extremely naive to the idea of what exactly they are feeling and what specifically is happening to them. If they unfortunately get bullied, children might fall into early stages of depression, sadness, and self-worthlessness. Children being bullied is not a joke and the act of bullying should never be taken lightly because the scars that are left on children will turn into even bigger scars when these children turn into adults. Negativity and sadness will consume even the most happy child when bullied, and it is difficult for adults to even remedy the situation once a child has been bullied. So, it goes to show, we as adults, must do everything in our power to stop this in-senseless act of bullying. We must take responsibility for the children around us, especially our own children, and we must realize that bullying should never be tolerated and if so, can and will lead to horrible repercussions.

It is true that major strides have been taken with the bullying issue. There is at least a discussion about bullying between people, and a few studies that have looked into the bullying issue as a whole to try and remedy the situation before it gets out of hand. But, a main aspect about bullying that makes it very difficult to fix is that usually bullying occurs when adults are not even around, usually at school, or on the sports field, or when a group of children are playing. Many adults might not even realize that their own child is being bullied since they simply do not see it with their own eyes. Sadly, many children do not even recognize when they are actually being bulled themselves. Many children who have never been taught about bullying or witnessed bullying first-hand might not know how to handle bullying when it happens to them, it might scare them, or they might refuse to discuss it with anyone because they feel very hurt, embarrassed, or sad that it happened to them. The question goes to show, what can we, as adults do to help with the bullying problem that seems to be ongoing in schools and when groups of children spend time together? Is there anything that can actually be done to effectively get rid of bullying? Thankfully, there are a few things that adults can do which are proven to at least, start by recognizing bulling for what it is, and then taking specific steps to stop it altogether.

As a parent, or a teacher, or a friend or family member, it is great to simply sit down with your child and let them know what bullying is and how to recognize it. Although, this might seem confusing to children, especially if they are very young, it is necessary in order to focus on explaining to children what bullying is all about. Children need to know if and when it happens to them so they can be prepared and handle it accordingly and not be taken by surprise. It is always better for children to be prepared and ready than to be confused and vulnerable. After discussing with your child what bullying is, it is then important to ask them directly if they have ever been bullied by anyone. If they don't know how to answer this question, then take them at their word and don't press the issue. But, if they have expressed that they have been bullied, then it is vital to take necessary action to reduce or omit this bullying as much as possible. It goes to show that sometimes there are specific "bullies" who frequently bully other children. Usually, a "bully" will bully many children at once, and on a consistent basis. If your child does know the name of a specific bully, then it is best to talk to that child's parents or teacher. There is no reason to let a "bully" get away with bullying any other human being.

It is a shame to admit that the bullying problem seems to be getting worse, and not better, even though some strides have taken place. There are consistently news stories that are coming out that deal with bullying directly and it is painful to know that so many children are being bullied on a consistent basis. There have been stories where children have actually committed suicide because they were bullied about their sexuality or gender preference. Aside from ruining a child's future, bullying can also ruin their current as well. This just goes to show that children must be protected in terms of bullying. Adults must stay aware of any signs that their child is being bullied and take immediate action if they are. Adults also must teach their children that bullying someone else is never okay and is not tolerated whatsoever. Once communication starts, effective action should be able to take place. Children need to hear from adults that bullying is wrong before they ever take the step to do it themselves. Children also need to see that bullying is wrong, meaning adults need to set a good example by showing children how to behave and how important it is to use compassion, love,  and respect at all times when around others. Respect yourself and respect others, there is no tolerance for bullying and it needs to stop once and for all. It's time to bring RCU into the classroom and teach the next generation how to resolve future conflicts and respect one another.


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Pick of the Month

Join Little Lamb Kidz in their second published adventure, Funny Looking Friends. This beautifully illustrated book invokes the RCU message in a way that will captivate your child and instill this wholesome message.

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