Summer Safety Tips
Summer is a time to get outdoors and, for many families, visit new destinations and public places. Although it's something we hope will never happen, it's important to teach our children about getting lost and using caution around strangers. Here are a few tips for teaching children to be safe during the summer.
Whether you're going on a trip to the beach, an amusement park, or off to the great outdoors, teach children what to do if they get lost.
• If you go camping, hiking, or walking through trails in the woods, give your children a whistle on a string to hang around their necks.
• If they become lost, teach them to "hug a tree" and start whistling. Sound carries a long way, and this can help you locate them.
• The National Safety Council suggests parents carry photos of their children, select a meeting place ahead of time in case someone gets lost, and instruct children to go to a park employee if they are in trouble.
• Some parents tell their young children that if they are lost they should try to find other families with young children to help them.
Teach your children about stranger safety and review with them periodically. For example, children should not talk to unfamiliar adults when they are alone at a park, mall, or other public place. Teach your children to yell or go to a safe spot such as a friend's house or a nearby store if they feel they're in danger.
Parents should also caution their children never to approach a car, especially when someone they don't know is inside, regardless of what the person is saying to them. Predators have been known to use a number of tricks to try to entice children to go with them, including asking children to help them find a lost puppy and asking for directions. Since children tend to be helpful and seek adult approval, it is easy for them to forget the rules and respond to the request. The buddy system can help in situations when an adult is not present.
Not all agree with the advice about teaching children to fear strangers. Although the incidence of stranger harm is real it can also be highly exaggerated and sensationalized by the media. What is critical is that children learn not to engage with strangers and particularly not to respond to behavior that lures them away with strangers. And to scream for help when they feel uneasy about the situation. Parents can help their children learn to recognize potentially unsafe situations when they are outdoors.
There is no hard rule about what age a child may stay at home without adult supervision. Some parents feel that no child under age 12 should be left alone (and some states have legislation establishing the legal age). Others feel that their 8 or 9 year old may be mature enough for an hour or two alone under particular circumstances.
Before leaving your child alone consider the child's age, the child's maturity level and personality, how long you will be gone, how far away you are going, and whether there is someone available to check on your child periodically.
When you do decide to leave your child at home, consider the following tips:
• Spend time explaining your expectations for any time that your children are unsupervised.
• Establish a regular schedule of check-in calls in which your child calls you to let you know how and what he/she is doing.
• For older children, establish rules about friends coming over to visit. Do you approve of your child having friends over at the house without any supervision?
• Create a first aid kit and teach children how to use it.
• Establish a list of emergency phone contacts and keep it by the phone or program it in a cell phone.
• Store alcohol and medication in a location that is completely inaccessible.
Whether your family is a roller coaster crew or cross-country campers, be safe and have fun. It'll be September before you know it.
Why Should Business Support Early Childhood Education?
The business case for early education is further explained in a new report by the Institute for a Competitive Workforce, an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The authors provide an overview of the short- and long-term impacts of high-quality early learning, including the financial return on public investments, and describe current challenges in funding, access and quality. The report also details business leadership activities in several states – Virginia, North Carolina, Minnesota, California and Washington – aimed at advancing early childhood programs and outlines specific actions businesspeople and organizations can take to get involved. Download at
Roots of Success: Cultivating Emotional Intelligence
Bright Horizons Family Solutions
An understanding of a child’s emotional intelligence is useful for parents trying to maintain perspective on what is important in raising their children. Our genes provide us with dispositions and tendencies toward personality characteristics, and our experiences shape us throughout our lifetime. In the early childhood years, children develop a core personality and sense of themselves. They develop a view of the social and physical world and their abilities to navigate the currents and shoals that carry them along. Motivation to succeed becomes internalized. Children develop empathy for others and a capacity to respond to the emotional ups and downs of others.
Dimensions of Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is made up of the following:
1. Knowing one's emotions
Self-awareness, or the ability to recognize a feeling as it happens, is the cornerstone of emotional intelligence. Being aware of our moods, thoughts, and feelings about our moods is necessary to manage emotions.
2. Managing emotions
Managing feelings so that they lead to appropriate behavior is a critical ability that builds on self-awareness.
3. Motivating oneself
Enthusiasm and persistence in the face of anxiety, fear, and setbacks set achievers apart. Believing that you possess the will and the way to master events is a critical predictor of success in school and life.
4. Recognizing emotion in others
Empathy builds on self-awareness and applies it to others. It is a fundamental skill that is essential to successful interpersonal interactions.
5. Handling relationships
The art of relationships is, in large part, measured by how well we can manage the emotions of others, and how well we are able to recognize and respond to those emotions with appropriate behavior.
Source: Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, based on the work of Yale psychologist Peter Salovey.
Your Child’s Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EQ)
How can we help our children optimize their emotional intelligence? We can try our best as parents to optimize their EQ by modeling our own emotional intelligence in our behavior and our interactions with our children. Some ways parents can help foster a high EQ are:
• Paying attention to their children’s feelings and helping them understand and articulate those feelings.
• Helping their children recognize and understand the feelings of others.
• Setting goals for their children and helping children set their own goals as they grow more mature.
• Helping their children develop an optimistic view of life.
• Providing boundaries, limits, and direction so their children can become responsible members of a community.
• Supporting the development of the competence, confidence, and persistence necessary to succeed at tasks by gently coaching, mentoring, and providing challenges and opportunities for manageable risk. This is usually the most effective strategy for helping children. Ignoring feelings as something to get over, a laissez faire approach that accepts all sorts of reactions, or a negative reaction to children’s emotional responses won’t help children develop the sense of self and skills they need to succeed.
Emotional intelligence grows out of conversations and one-on-one time with our children; it also grows out of engaging them in our lives and allowing children to participate in family decisions.
Early Care and Education and Emotional Intelligence
Early care and education programs that set high expectations, provide plenty of social interactions with children and adults, offer opportunities for making choices and taking responsibility, and recruit teachers who recognize and appreciate each child’s unique sensibility and learning styles support the development of emotional intelligence. Programs that seem to focus on training children or filling them with information or by intent or result appear to spend more time managing children then mentoring them, do little to cultivate emotional intelligence.
There is a lot of current literature available on the concept of an EQ. Parents should be selective and look for books that are based on reliable research. A driven engineering approach to “raising your child’s EQ” is probably counter-productive. The best advice for parents might be to spend less time focusing on what our children will be and more time enjoying and supporting our children in the here and now with optimism, high (but realistic) expectations, and gentle coaching to succeed.
For more on emotional intelligence:
• Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman.
• Emotional Intelligence: Science and Myth by Gerald Matthews, Moshe Zeidner, and Richard Roberts. (MIT Press, 2003)
• Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child by John Gottman, Joan Declaire and Daniel Goleman.
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