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Parental Resources

Actions to Take to Improve Your Knowledge and Skills as a Parent

By Family, Family Wheel

A lot of parenting is figuring things out day by day, however, there is an old saying “You don’t know what you don’t know”. There is so much information out there, but rather than getting overwhelmed, the goal for parents should be to continuously learn and grow with their children. It’s true parents can’t know everything, but they can be proactive and improve knowledge and skills to ensure they are able to help their children grow up to be strong, healthy, happy, members of society. Read on to learn actions to take to improve your knowledge and skills as a parent or guardian.

Why It’s Important for Parents to Take Action

Another old saying is “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Parents who don’t put in the effort to build their knowledge and skills can find themselves in challenges they don’t know how to handle because they weren’t aware of it and didn’t plan for it. Some challenges have easy remedies, and parents can learn from the experience. Unfortunately, some challenges have lifelong consequences for the entire family.

Ways to Gain Knowledge and Skills

  • Books or Articles from Trusted Authors: Reading books and articles written by trusted experts in the field of parenting can provide valuable insights and practical tips. Look for authors who base their advice on research and real-life experiences.
  • Workshops or Classes: Many communities offer workshops and classes on parenting topics. These can be a great way to learn from professionals and connect with other parents who are facing similar challenges.
  • Online Education Courses: The internet has a wealth of online courses covering various aspects of parenting. These courses are often flexible and can be completed at your own pace, allowing you to learn on your schedule.
  • Parenting Apps: There are numerous apps designed to assist parents with various aspects of child-rearing. These apps offer tips, advice, and even interactive tools to help you navigate the challenges of parenting.

Steps Parents Can Take

Being proactive in improving knowledge and skills will be different for each parent. The good news is that reading this blog is a fantastic starting point. It’s important to remember that parents don’t have to know everything all at once all of the time. Building knowledge and skills is a journey that takes a little time each week to make a difference.

Reflection:

  • What is Something You Could Commit to Doing Each Week? Whether it’s reading an article, watching an educational video, or attending a virtual workshop, dedicating a small portion of your week to learning can add up over time.
  • What is a Parenting Topic You’d Like to Learn More About? Is it discipline strategies, effective communication, child development, or something else? Identifying the areas you’d like to learn more about can guide your efforts to improve as a parent.

Remember, parenting is a journey filled with learning and growth. By taking proactive steps to enhance your knowledge and skills, you’re investing in your child’s well-being and creating a positive environment for their development. From self-care tips to creating precious family moments, discover how you can make this journey fulfilling for both you and your children. Get your copy of  “The Family Wheel” today! Have questions? Feel free to Contact Us.

Ideas for Becoming a Comfortable and Confident Parent

By Family, Family Wheel, Parental Resources
Do you feel like a comfortable and confident parent? Parenting is an ever-evolving journey, and it’s natural to feel a bit uncertain amidst the multitude of advice and resources available. However, cultivating confidence is essential for your child’s growth and your peace of mind. Let’s explore why confidence matters and discover some simple ways to boost your parenting confidence.

Becoming a Comfortable and Confident Parent

  • Enhanced Decision Making: Confidence empowers you to make informed decisions for your child, trusting your judgment without constantly doubting your choices.
  • Creating a Nurturing Environment: Confidence drives proactive steps toward establishing a safe, healthy, and nurturing environment that fosters your child’s well-being.
  • Emotional Availability: Being confident enables you to be emotionally available for your child, forming healthy connections by actively engaging in their emotional world.

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Fun Holiday Games for Families

By Family, Family Wheel, Fun, Kids

The holiday season is a magical time for families to come together, create lasting memories, and enjoy delightful moments. It’s time for fun holiday games! For parents with young children, incorporating festive games into your celebrations can add an extra layer of joy and excitement. Whether you’re celebrating Kwanzaa, Christmas, or ringing in the New Year, here are some entertaining holiday games perfect for the whole family!

Fun Holiday Games for Families

 

Kwanzaa Games 

Kwanzaa Kinara Game: Create a DIY Kinara (candle holder) with seven candles, each representing one of the Nguzo Saba principles. Light a candle each night and discuss its significance. Engage kids by having them share ways they embody these principles daily.

Umoja (Unity) Puzzle: Craft a unity puzzle using family photos. Assemble the puzzle together, emphasizing the importance of togetherness and unity within the family.

Christmas Games

Holiday Scavenger Hunt: Design a festive scavenger hunt around the house or outdoors, featuring hidden Christmas-themed items. Provide clues or riddles to guide children in finding the treasures, rewarding them with small treats or surprises.

Christmas Charades: Gather everyone for a game of Christmas-themed charades. Act out holiday-related phrases or songs, encouraging giggles and creativity as children try to guess the clues.

Decorate the Gingerbread House: Engage in the timeless tradition of decorating a gingerbread house. Provide various candies, icing, and edible decorations, letting kids unleash their creativity while creating sugary masterpieces.

New Year Games 

Resolution Race: Write down age-appropriate New Year resolutions on strips of paper. Have each family member pick a resolution from a hat and explain how they plan to achieve it. This game fosters discussion about goal-setting and personal growth.

Countdown Balloon Pop: Create a countdown to midnight (or an earlier kid-friendly time) using balloons labeled with activities inside each one. Pop a balloon every hour or half-hour, revealing an activity the family can enjoy together, like dancing, playing a game, or sharing wishes for the upcoming year.

Memory Jar for the New Year: Set up a memory jar where everyone can jot down their favorite memories from the past year. Read these aloud as a family on New Year’s Eve, reminiscing about the joys and accomplishments of the year gone by.

Remember, the essence of these fun holiday games isn’t just about winning; it’s about spending quality time together, fostering connections, and creating cherished traditions. Embrace the joy, laughter, and togetherness that these games bring, making this holiday season a memorable and heartwarming experience for your family!

For more useful tips or the perfect gift for parents and caregivers, look to Mrs. Park’s book ‘The Family Wheel’.  This useful book provides parents with a structured process to improve in each aspect of parenting. It offers guidance, resources, and thought-provoking exercises to help them define purposeful actions aligned with their unique preferences, family dynamics, and goals. As they take proactive steps toward self-improvement, they’ll witness the positive impact it has on their ability to show up as the best version of themselves. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CFD2MB3W?ref_=pe_3052080_397514860

Have questions about Parks’ Place Learning Center? Contact us!

Potty Training Tips

Toilet Mastery: Guiding Your Child’s Potty Training Journey

By Parental Resources, Toddlers

Toilet Mastery – How do I teach my child?

Age 2 is a good time to start

Watch for readiness signs:

Child stays dry for as long as 2-3 hours.
Child seems to understand the general idea and is able to let you know when he or she has the urge to urinate or have a BM.
Child is interested in learning.
Child can manage clothing and potty chair.

Read more in the full article.

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Types of Early Learning Providers

Fun Holiday Games for The Family

By Family, Fun, Parental ResourcesNo Comments

The Holidays are here and it’s the time to have fun and share good memories with your family. Below are some fun holiday games and activities that you can play with your kids. Playing with kids is a great way to bond and create lasting memories as well as help them develop their creativity.

This holiday season, try a new holiday game to play with your family and share the laughter and love.

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Saying Goodbye to Family and Hello to School

By General Announcements, Parental Resources

Saying Goodbye to Family and Hello to School

Your child may be starting childcare at a new provider or starting child care for the first time. You may be preparing your child for their first day of VPK or kindergarten, or even first grade. Starting care can be challenging for you and your child if they have difficulty separating from you. Anything new can be scary for your child, and the fact that you will not be there to help them adjust to their new surroundings may make it scary for you, too. 

Transitioning from Home to School

Home–to-school worries regarding transitions may be caused by your child not understanding that she will be safe and have fun in her new environment. She may worry that she has never been away from you and fears being without you. Separation anxiety is common in young children and parents as well. 

Before the first day at a new school or with a new teacher, ask the school staff or program director what they do at the beginning of the year to help make the first day go smoothly. Find out the name of your child’s teacher and other adults who may be supervising your child. 

Talk to your child about what she can expect. Let her know that you will always come back for her. Remind her that you love her, have never left her, and you will continue to be there as you always have. 

 

Establish Routines

A routine is when you complete specific tasks regularly. Children thrive with routines because it creates structure. A child must have the routine and tasks explained and see it modeled by you to follow the routine regularly. 

A few weeks before the first day, tell your child that “We’re going to practice getting ready for school!” Make sure to sound excited and happy about it. Choose two shirts, two pairs of pants, and two pairs of socks and set them out. Ask your child, “Would you like this shirt or that one? These pants or those?” Offering your child a choice gives them a sense of control and will make them more cooperative with the getting dressed process. 

Establishing cooperation as part of your morning routine will make your life easier. Remember to praise your child for getting dressed and being so cooperative. Praise reinforces the desired behavior and increases your child’s confidence. 

Once everyone is dressed, it’s time to grab your bags and go. Get buckled into the car and drive to the school. Park and explain that this is the part where you would typically walk your child to her class and kiss her goodbye. 

 

Keep It Positive

Tell her that she will get to do fun activities, make new friends, and play outside, and at the end of the day, you’ll be there to pick her up. She’ll probably want to get out and play on the playground, but let her know she’ll have to wait until the “big day” when school starts. On the drive home, you might assure your child that you were nervous about your first day, but it turned out well for you. 

You may not wish to make the “practice run” to school every day before the big day, but it’s best to practice getting dressed each morning. Make sure that you are up with lunches packed and dressed by the time you will typically need to get out the door. 

 

Enlist Support

Encourage family members to show their support. Tell them to ask your child if she is excited about school. Have them remind her that she will get to play and make new friends. Bring up the topic at dinner time, when the family is together and can share their experiences. 

 

What to Do On the First Day of School

When the big day arrives, be sure to get up a little earlier to allow extra time to offer reassurance. Follow the routine you have established, offering choices in clothing and getting dressed. Write a love note to tuck in her lunch. Small children may wish to bring a comfort item such as a stuffed animal or blanket on the first day. Just be sure to check with the care provider or teacher about their policy about this. 

When it’s time to leave, remind her again that she will get to play and make new friends. Let her know that the teacher or care provider is there to help her if she needs anything. Remind her that you will be back at the end of the day right on time to get her. Keep your voice and energy upbeat and excited for her! 

 

Dealing With Your Sadness

While you may be excited for your child, sending them to care or school for the first time may bring you sadness. This is only natural. Children pick up on how we’re feeling, and if you let your fear and despair come through, it will only add to your child’s nervousness. Remind yourself that your child’s care provider or teacher works with children because she loves them and has been doing this work for years. Make sure to reach out to friends who you can talk to about how you’re feeling. Friends with children will no doubt identify with you. 


Celebrate

This is an exciting time for both you and your child. Your child is gaining independence, and you are acquiring a bit of autonomy. Don’t be afraid to talk to your child’s care provider or teacher about your concerns. She is there to support you. Enjoy this new time in your life. One day you will look back on it as one of your fondest memories. 

Celebrate Black History Month

Celebrating Black History

By General Announcements, Parental Resources

History is often reduced to a handful of memorable moments and events. In Black history, those events often include courageous stories like those of The Underground Railroad and historic moments like the famous “I Have a Dream” speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. But these are only a few of the significant and important events to know and remember.

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Early Childhood Literacy

Early Childhood Literacy

By Family, Parental Resources
  1. Tall with Your Child.  Use trips to the grocery store, dinnertime chats, and driving in the car as a time to introduce new words and talk about the world around us.
  2. Exchange Stories. Tell a great story, and have your child tell you one back! It’s a great way to build oral language and learn new words.
  3. Have fun with Rhymes. Sing rhyming songs, read rhyming books, and say tongue twisters with your child. This helps them lean1 new sounds in words.
  4. Talk About Letters. Help your child learn the names of the letters and the sounds the letters make. Turn it into a game! For example, you could say, “I’m thinking of a letter and it makes the sound sssssss.
  5. KeepBooKs Present. Your child will be more likely to pick up a book and read if they are out in the open and easy to find. Keep them readily available in the kitchen, car, and other locations where your child spends time.
  6. Read Every Day & Ask Questions. Reading together for 20 minutes each day, and talking about what you are reading helps children understand what they are reading.
  7. Take Advantage Of Available Help. Select books your child is most interested in reading. Talk with your child’s teacher or a local librarian to find the best books for your child. Visit the library for books, events, and programs like reading clubs.
  8. Be Creative with Writing. Writing grocery lists and notes or letters helps children connect spoken words to written words.
  9. Introduce Reading Apps. Your child can practice reading on your phone or tablet at home or on-the-go.
  10. Keep Reading. Creating a plan to spend quality time reading during school breaks and over the summer can help prevent children from falling behind and ensure they return to school ready to learn.

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Parks' First Time Home Buyers

First Time Home Buyers Information Session

By General Announcements, Jacksonville, Florida, Parental Resources

First Time Home Buyers Information Session

Tired of Renting? Fire Your Landlord.

Need Credit Counseling?

Come out and get insider tips on how you can own your own home.

Thursday, January 18th at 6:00 pm at Parks’ Place

  • Zero down home loans available.
  • Up to 15K grants available.
  • Free credit report available to everybody who attends.

Please join us for a first time home buyers seminar.

Come out and get insider tips from guest speaker Willie Smith with Hampton Group Funding, Inc.

Tosha Martinez Realtor

 

New Travel Rules

The New Travel Rules

By Family, Kids, Parental ResourcesNo Comments

FAMILY TRAVEL HAS CHANGED A LOT SINCE YOU WERE A KID. TRAVELING WITH KIDS-YES EVEN BABIES-HAS NEVER BEEN EASIER THAN IT IS TODAY. JOIN THE RANKS OF FAMILIES HIDING THE ROAD MORE OFTEN BY FOLLOWING THIS NEW, GAME-CHANGING ADVICE.

RULE 1: yes, you can

No, really, you can take small humans 011 a trip without it being equal parts stress and fun.
Traveling with young kids is becoming the norm, not the exception. It’s harder to raise eyebrows on planes, in restaurants, and at the hotel pool. Why? Because in recent years, the travel industry has been catering to young families like never before, and so you’d have to try really hard to wind up in a place where yours were the only kiddos in sight. Rather than treating children as an “add-on,” resorts today are all about the kids. Airlines offer families with young children priority boarding and stroller checking; rental car companies issue car seats.

RULE 2: take advantage of technology

Most of us remember dreading those long rides to get to our family’s vacation destination. But back then, options to make the hours pass were limited to counting license plates and putting gum in your sister’s hair. No more. Tech that keeps kids entertained on the road abounds such as the next-generation scavenger hunt: geocaching. This trending hoppy can be tried out at a rest stop along your driving route. Use your phone and a geocache app to find hidden treasures nearby. You can geocache virtually anywhere these days. Young children love to follow the app to find a surprise. The rule is that if you take something, you leave something. So make sure to bring along a few trinkets for the next family to find.

Rule 3: The more, the merrier

We don’t mean vacationing with your in-laws (though you could; see Rule 4). A growing trend is vacationing with your friends and their kids. With families and their kids. With families spread out over larger distances than in previous generations, friends with kids the same age have taken over as a support system. More young parents are deciding to travel as a group. It’s more fun for the kids, who have built-in playmates they already know, and for you as well, especially if you have a baby or toddler. Think about it: You and your bambino will have company at the kiddie pool for once, while your spouse takes the older kids to the diving board.

Rule 4: rethink what it means to “go home”

Visiting grandparents is a top reason for taking a family trip, and now it no longer means piling into your old bedroom with your own kids and feeling obliged to eat your favorite childhood pancakes – Every. Single. Morning. If you believe that home is the people you love, not necessarily a physical place, then this is the year to suggest going somewhere awesome as the annual family visit. Grandparents who don’t see their grandchildren that often may be only too happy to share a special experience with them. Private homes and resort rental services, such as Airbnb HomeAway and Vacatia, now make it possible to find comfy accommodation for a large group that, well, feel like a home.

Rule 5: Be spontaneous

Online booking has changed the travel game. Vacations no longer have to be planned months out. Now it’s simple to jump on a great hotel deal or a rock-bottom fare, gram the kids and go. The ease of comparing prices instantaneously can make it possible for those with a tight budget to take a trip that they thought was out of their reach. It also make much easier to take advantage of low-season travel dates. Many schools are closed on random days that apply only in that district, such as teacher­ development days. If you have school-age kids, you don’t need to be restricted to the pricey (and crowded) summer and spring break time frames. Unexpected day off from school a week from Friday? Grab your phone and make it an impromptu long weekend.

Rule 6 Mix Business with Pleasure

Work-family balance is a priority for most working parents. If you travel frequently for business, it can sometimes be hard not to feel guilty, or at least a little sad, about spending precious time away from your family. But like so much else in 2017, it’s time to rethink the business trip. It doesn’t have to be an either-or proposition. Why not bring your partner and kids along? If you all fit in one room, there’s no additional cost to your employer. While you’re out during the day, they can enjoy the local
attractions. No, it’s not a dream family vacation, but it’s a great way to grab quality time with your kids in a way that fits your life now.