Through play, children develop into adults. That’s just the way it works. Children develop all of the important skills of life through play. Education gives them information, play is the way they apply that information to life. 

Play is not just physical, and the purpose of play is not just pleasure, although play can be both physical and pleasurable. An active play life for a child includes the testing of and enhancement of his physical abilities (learning to climb, run, jump, etc.).

Play also includes learning about human interactions and relationships. The child learns such important life skills as communication, negotiation, and compromise when he is playing a game with other children.

Most friendships begin with play for children and even for adults. Think about how your own friendships develop — mutual interest and mutual pleasure (play) is key to the friendship growing and developing. The same is true for children.

And play stokes the imagination and fosters creativity — coloring in a color book or cutting out shapes, drawing pictures, all of these things bring the child’s natural creative ability into focus for him.

Play can be serious business for children, although they would never classify it as “serious.” My six-year-old son told me that he didn’t want to go visit the child of a friend of mine because, “he doesn’t know how to play fair.” Children have their own set of standards that are mostly a mystery to adults, but there IS a system in place that matures through play into a set of adult standards.

An adult can watch children at play and simply miss all of the important “stuff” that is taking place between the children. The kids are determining a “pecking order,” establishing boundaries, and developing their physical abilities as well as their creativity and their imaginations. And you thought they were just playing! Play IS the work of childhood.

 

To assist with the current crisis, TLC is temporarily offering FREE MEMBERSHIP and DISCOUNTED AGENCY FEES to all Medical Professionals and First Responders. We know you cannot work at home and want to help you ensure you have solid care arrangements for your loved ones. Call TLC at 314.725.5660 to learn more and get started.

TLC For Kids, Inc. has been St. Louis’ premier nanny and babysitting agency for over 30 years. TLC For Kids’ dedicated staff is ready to assist you in finding nannies, tutors, newborn care specialists, sitters and more in Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Ft. Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Palm Beach, Sarasota, St. Louis, Tampa and more!. Reach us at tlc@tlcforkids.com or 314-725-5660.

Of all the different strategies and techniques for handling situations that come up as a parent, laughter is among the best. Not only does humor and laughter help to alleviate tension and stress, it has also been shown to benefit us physically. Here are a few benefits of parenting with a positive spin, as well as ways to incorporate laughter into your parenting routine. 

Physical Benefits

Laughter helps to relieve physical stress and tension, which leaves your body feeling more relaxed after. A good laugh also gets your heart pumping and gives your heart and lungs a workout. Laughing for fifteen minutes burns almost the same amount of calories as a fifteen minute walk. This means that laughing can really help when it comes to keeping fit and keeping up with the kids.

When we laugh, our bodies release endorphins, which make us feel good and give us a sense of wellbeing. Laughing also reduces the levels of stress hormones in the body, which eases tension and anxiety. Reducing your stress hormone levels may also boost the performance of your immune system. This means that laughter may also help keep you and your kids healthy.

Other Benefits

When people laugh together, it strengthens their relationship. If you share laughter and humor with your kids, it helps you to bond more as a family. Laughing together encourages people to work together as a team and helps to settle conflict. Your kids will feel more connected to you if you share laughter and will be all the more motivated to do what you want them to.

Humor also helps to relieve distress during times when you are feeling overwhelmed. By making laughter a part of every day, both you and your family can maintain a more positive outlook and healthy attitude, all the way around.

Bring Laughter into Your Life

It’s easy to make laughter a part of your parenting routine, because kids love to laugh and have a good time. If your kids have a hard time getting excited about cleaning up after themselves, come up with an encouraging activity or game to play while you clean. This way, they will actually want to participate and help out, rather than doing it to avoid getting into trouble.

When something bad happens and it’s time to get tough, try to focus on the positive aspects of the situation rather than the negative. Your kids may be more inclined to stay in bed at night if you talk to them about some of the fun things that might happen in the morning, rather than how much trouble they’ll be in if they don’t fall asleep.

Not only does laughter help to keep you and your family healthy and stress free, it also encourages your kids to behave better and enjoy life more. The times your family spend laughing together are the times your kids will fondly remember as they get older and form families of their own. If you encourage them to stay positive, they’ll pass that outlook down to their own kids in the future.

 

To assist with the current crisis, TLC is temporarily offering FREE MEMBERSHIP and DISCOUNTED AGENCY FEES to all Medical Professionals and First Responders. We know you cannot work at home and want to help you ensure you have solid care arrangements for your loved ones. Call TLC at 314.725.5660 to learn more and get started.

TLC For Kids, Inc. has been St. Louis’ premier nanny and babysitting agency for over 30 years. TLC For Kids’ dedicated staff is ready to assist you in finding nannies, tutors, newborn care specialists, sitters and more in Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Ft. Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Palm Beach, Sarasota, St. Louis, Tampa and more!. Reach us at tlc@tlcforkids.com or 314-725-5660.

Setting boundaries for your children is one of the best ways to raise well rounded children. Finding the invisible line in keeping your children happy and at the same time teaching them where the rules are can be very hard to find. Yet, your success is likely to depend on just one thing: your ability to follow through. In many families, the problem lies in parents not following through with the rules, punishments or even rewards. Once this is put in place, though, significant changes are seen.

Lay Down The Rules

Setting boundaries for your child involves making a list of the rules of the home that everyone will follow. This will include everything from the things they are responsible for to being respectful to each other. Be specific when you work out the rules together, both parents working together to establish them. Once you both have come to an agreement on what the rules are, or the boundaries are, then you can work on fine-tuning them so that they are actionable.

For example, if the children are unwilling to share their toes, determine what the rules are for that infringement. In many cases, child behavior specialists believe that it is important to set boundaries that are able to be followed with punishments that fit the crime. Be fair with the rules. Everyone should receive the same type of punishment, warning and reward for the activities on the rules.

Here are some tips to be successful in establishing the boundaries for within your home:

• Determine what the rules are and write them down. Be sure that you sit down with your kids and allow them to express consider, interest or ask questions about the rules. Once everyone knows what the rules are, then you can begin to enforce them.

• The next step involves warnings. Giving one warning is an option for most parents, allowing their children to receive just one warning before inflicting punishment for the activity. Be sure that your child knows what the warning means. You may decide to go with no warnings or even more warnings, as you deem necessary for your children.

• When your child does not follow the rules, and has ignored any warnings you have given, the next step is to let your child know that they have broken the rules. Get down to eye level with the child, tell them what they have done wrong and send them to time out or the other type of punishment you have established.

In order for the process to work well for any family, the process must be the same throughout. For example, if you slack and give them more warnings then the system calls for, the result is that your children will continue to push the boundaries. When they do, you will continue to be frustrated with them.

Following through is not only something you should do with your children when it comes to punishments. In fact, not following through with the requirements of rewards will also cause a problem within your family unit. If you promise rewards of any type for good behavior, be sure to follow through. Children learn from their parents before anyone else which means that if you do not follow through they will not do so either.

In addition to this, setting boundaries for yourself is just as important. Your children will see you bickering or breaking the home’s rules and will do the same thing themselves. After all, if mommy or daddy can do it, why can’t they do it?

The benefits of setting boundaries and following through with them will resonate throughout the entire life. In most families, there is no reason for a parent that is a bully, but there is no doubt that your family also needs to follow fairly with the rules set forth.

For some children following any system is difficult. There may be emotional or developmental issues holding your child back. If you find that your child is continuing to pressure each other and setting boundaries is not helping, talk to your child’s doctor. They can give you guidance on if there may be a medical condition that could be interfering with their ability.

 

To assist with the current crisis, TLC is temporarily offering FREE MEMBERSHIP and DISCOUNTED AGENCY FEES to all Medical Professionals and First Responders. We know you cannot work at home and want to help you ensure you have solid care arrangements for your loved ones. Call TLC at 314.725.5660 to learn more and get started.

TLC For Kids, Inc. has been St. Louis’ premier nanny and babysitting agency for over 30 years. TLC For Kids’ dedicated staff is ready to assist you in finding nannies, tutors, newborn care specialists, sitters and more in Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Ft. Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Palm Beach, Sarasota, St. Louis, Tampa and more!. Reach us at tlc@tlcforkids.com or 314-725-5660.

Young children take life literally. They view all situations as “good” or “bad.” Water is either “hot” or “cold.” Young children do not assign “degrees” to any situation, and in the young child’s world, everything is real. The three-year-old has absolutely no doubt that Sponge Bob or Dora the Explorer really exists. These characters are just as “real” to the child as Mommy and Daddy. Santa can circle the globe and visit every child on the planet in a single night and the Easter Bunny can deliver baskets of colored eggs just like Daddy can make the car go and Mommy can make food magically appear. 

In my opinion, make-believe is not only healthy, it is essential. Make believe helps a child to make sense of the world around him. He assigns his perceptions of a person, place, or thing with the help of make-believe.

There are those who advocate removing all make-believe from childhood. These experts tell us that make believe causes children to delay their perception of their reality. Shame on them! Too much “reality” isn’t good for adults much less little kids.

Grown-ups attend movies and plays and get caught up in the action on the screen or on the stage. Just for a moment, they believe what they are seeing and hearing. Adults, of course, can separate fact from fiction and fantasy from reality. Kids will learn to make those distinctions as they grow older. Meanwhile, that fantasy is helping them learn how to deal with life in a safe and nonthreatening way.

As long as the make-believe is healthy and doesn’t desensitize the child (make killing seem good and evil seem desirable), I see no harm in make-believe.

 

To assist with the current crisis, TLC is temporarily offering FREE MEMBERSHIP and DISCOUNTED AGENCY FEES to all Medical Professionals and First Responders. We know you cannot work at home and want to help you ensure you have solid care arrangements for your loved ones.  Call TLC at 314.725.5660 to learn more and get started.

TLC For Kids, Inc. has been St. Louis’ premier nanny and babysitting agency for over 30 years. TLC For Kids’ dedicated staff is ready to assist you in finding nannies, tutors, newborn care specialists, sitters and more in Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Ft. Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Palm Beach, Sarasota, St. Louis, Tampa and more!. Reach us at tlc@tlcforkids.com or 314-725-5660.

Most of us have a lot of stress in our lives today. Some of it is due to the fast-paced society that we live in and some of it is self-inflicted due to who we choose to spend our time with. Much of it may be attributed to COVID-19, work or lack of, online learning and so much uncertainty. The fact is, misery loves company. If you want to live a positive and happy life, surround yourself with positive things and positive people. The more positive energy you manifest into the world, the more positive you’ll get back.

Set Specific Goals for Yourself

Whether it has to do with diet, exercise, or being positive, set realistic and specific goals that have a timetable so that you know when you’re supposed to be done with the goal. Write down the goal and the steps that you’ll take to reach the goal. Then add it to your calendar. Feeling accomplished will automatically make you feel more positive.

Nip Negative Self-Talk in the Bud

If you want to be more positive, start with yourself. When you feel your mind go toward negative self-talk, change it around to positive. Instead of, “I am fat,” change your words to, “I am healthy and I am eating right to make myself even healthier.” Even if it’s not immediately true, the more you tell yourself it’s true, the more you’ll seek to make the behavior match the feeling.

Listen to Happy Music

Find the most uplifting and positive music that you can find and put it on your play list. Try listening to the positive and happy music at least once a day. If you can figure out what time of day you are generally prone to negativity, try listening to that music before that time comes.

Read a Lot of Happy and Positive Books

There is no shortage of positive books to read in the library or on Kindle. There are even a lot of free inspirational books available on Kindle. Keep your eyes open for the free offers; join a group on Facebook that helps you find positive free books to read on Kindle. Try to read one positive book each month.

Find Positive People to Make Your Friends

Remember that positive people generally want to hang around with other positive people. Therefore, if you want to meet more people who fit that description, you’ll need to focus your thoughts and actions more on the positive than the negative. Otherwise you’ll turn them off and they won’t want to be around you, which could backfire on your new positive world. Set up weekly Zoom chats with friends and family. Consider a Facebook video call with a different friend each day – just to check up on each other and let others know you are available for support and conversation.

Practice Daily Affirmations

The character Stuart Smalley made fun of affirmations in his famous skits on Saturday Night Live but the truth is, it works. You can use the mirror self-talk or you can use a journal to write down five good and positive thoughts every single day to help you focus your thoughts in a positive direction.

Reorganize and Decorate Your Home

Take this time to tackle projects. If you currently live in disorganization and clutter it can be very difficult to think positively. Try to work on one room at a time to redesign your life so that your surroundings are uncluttered and attractive. For organizational tips try visiting FlyLady.net which has many tips on how to get your home organized easily.

Surrounding yourself with positives is something that is very realistic and something that you can accomplish. Choose one thing at a time to work on, giving yourself a time limit on when you will accomplish adding every one of these positives to your life. You will be glad you did it.

 

 

To assist with the current crisis, TLC is temporarily offering FREE MEMBERSHIP and DISCOUNTED AGENCY FEES to all Medical Professionals and First Responders. We know you cannot work at home and want to help you ensure you have solid care arrangements for your loved ones.  Call TLC at 314.725.5660 to learn more and get started.

TLC For Kids, Inc. has been St. Louis’ premier nanny and babysitting agency for over 30 years. TLC For Kids’ dedicated staff is ready to assist you in finding nannies, tutors, newborn care specialists, sitters and more in Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Ft. Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Palm Beach, Sarasota, St. Louis, Tampa and more!. Reach us at tlc@tlcforkids.com or 314-725-5660.

April is Autism Awareness Month, and we at TLC for Kids support Autism Awareness in our communities.

In 1943, psychiatrist Leo Kanner observed 11 children who he described as having a desire for sameness and social withdrawal. He also claimed these children had speech and language problems, particularly speech delays and echoing mechanisms.

Kanner used the word “autistic” to describe the characteristics of these children who seemed not to posses an ability to relate to people.

Today 1 in every 59 children is diagnosed with Autism, as reported by the CDC in 2019.  The St. Louis Chapter of Autism speaks says that a new case of Autism is diagnosed every 11 minutes.  Obviously there is a great need to get the word out about Autism and how we can all help.

Finding childcare for a child with Autism can sometimes be difficult.  Parents want to find a babysitter who has the the experience and the know how to work with a child with special needs.

TLC For Kids has babysitters and nannies who have experience caring for kids on all levels of the Autism Spectrum.  Our team of Special Needs providers have attended seminars on Autism, taken OT or PT classes, or are teachers and nurses with experience.   If your child has Asperger’s,  or PDD-NOS we can also help.

Contact us 314-725-5660 to learn more about our Special Needs providers and reserve a sitter today.

TLC For Kids, Inc. has been St. Louis’ premier nanny and babysitting agency for over 30 years. TLC For Kids’ dedicated staff is ready to assist you in finding nannies, tutors, newborn care specialists, sitters and more in Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Ft. Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Palm Beach, Sarasota, St. Louis, Tampa and more!. Reach us at tlc@tlcforkids.com or 314-725-5660.

Original article appeared April 2013, updated with current statistics. 

Being a parent is not easy and it gets even harder, when your child gets angry. A toddler throwing a temper tantrum, a young child screaming and pounding or an adolescent slamming the door slamming, can leave us all puzzled, frustrated and at our wits end. Sometimes it might even make us angry and it is hard to deal with your child’s anger if you are getting angry and frustrated too.

Therefore one of the first things you might want to do when trying to deal with child anger and tantrums is identifying the source. Find out what triggered the anger and also, find out what the child’s reaction to anger is. Not all children have the same reaction. Some scream, some pound, others might hit and bite, bang their heads on the wall or not show any exterior signs at all while they store the anger inside. Even though many of us were taught that anger is a bad thing and that we should be ashamed for being angry, this is not exactly true. Of course anger is not a nice thing, but learning to properly deal with and express our anger can make all the difference.

Children should always be allowed to express their feelings and the feelings should be treated with respect. A child has a different view of life. What angers him now might not even bother him tomorrow, but for now we need to respect the feelings and acknowledge them. The angry outburst of a child might be a defense mechanism or might be related to failure or self esteem. Sometimes it might even be a way to express anxiety. Many young children actually get angry when they are sad. It is a normal reaction for them because anger and sadness are very closely related.

If you are worried about your child, find out when and why the child gets angry. Also there is a fine line between anger and aggression. Anger is a temporary situation, whereas aggression is a way of hurting a person or destroying property. Neither one of the two is really bad, but when other people can get hurt it is absolutely time for you to deal with your child’s anger/aggression. When dealing with an angry child, think about trying to protect and help the child; don’t think about punishing the child.

Ways to prevent anger or help a child with the anger are more or less effective for different children. Here are some ways that you can deal with anger in children.

First of all, “catch your child being good”. Telling a child when he or she has done something that pleases you helps a child learn what you think is good behavior. It also makes the child feel good about him/her by accomplishing things that are important to you. When a child learns the difference between good and not so good behavior the child will try to behave more often in a way that you appreciate. This does not mean to just tell the child that he is good. It needs to be related to a specific situation. Praise your child after cleaning up by himself, after taking the shoes off when entering the house or after helping you with a chore without being asked.

Another important part with dealing with aggressive/angry children is to ignore behavior and situations that can be tolerated. If you tell your child every time he does something wrong you not only overwhelm the child, you might also lower the self-esteem. The child will think that he or she can never do anything to please you.

Additionally you can help your child by giving him or her physical outlets or by manipulating the surroundings. Sometimes anger comes from having to much energy to burn; the child is on the edge. If the child gets an opportunity to burn the energy there will be less energy put into anger. Manipulating the surroundings to prevent the child from being angry is also helpful (removing a toy, starting a different activity).

Lastly, one of the most important things, show your child that you love him or her, be close, lovingly connect to your child through touch and talk. And if you get into a situation, try some humor to break the ice; it will ease the tension in your child.

 

 

TLC For Kids, Inc. has been St. Louis’ premier nanny and babysitting agency for over 30 years. TLC For Kids’ dedicated staff is ready to assist you in finding nannies, tutors, newborn care specialists, sitters and more.  Reach us at tlc@tlcforkids.com or 314-725-5660.

“Mom! I had it first!”

“Mom! Make her get out of MY room!”

“Mom! She’s BREATHING on me!”

Sibling rivalry when it is happening in your home isn’t funny, but you will learn to laugh about it sooner or later — probably later rather than sooner. What can you do about sibling rivalry? Is there anything that CAN be done about sibling rivalry?  

“Sibling rivalry” has been around a while. It’s the term that best describes the situation between Cain and Abel in the Bible — and we all know how THAT turned out.

Sibling rivalry is natural. Siblings usually swing back and forth between “best friends” and “sworn enemies.” Sometimes when siblings grow up, they do bury the hatchet and actually become friends — sometimes, but not always.

The only thing that parents can do about sibling rivalry is to be as fair as possible when dealing with disputes and competitions and to stay out of the dispute as often as possible. Let the kids work it out unless the solution has blood involved.

It’s best to include the kids in the resolution of a situation rather than just imposing your will or making your “best judgment.” The first thing to do is to separate the kids and give them both time to calm down.

The second thing to remember is that it does take “two” to make a fight. One child cannot fight without an opponent, and the odds are that both parties to the disagreement bear some responsibility. Blaming the older child “because you are the oldest and should know better” is unfair and gives license to the younger child to annoy and aggravate the older child.

Try to turn a sibling rivalry dispute into a win/win situation. Look for a solution that gives both parties something. Teach the kids to negotiate and compromise. It could keep you from having to play referee so often.

I’m often asked what age a child should be when his parents begin to read to him. The answer is, “It’s never too soon to start!” The baby can “hear” in the womb. Oh, he doesn’t understand words, but he does understand emotions, and he does respond to the emotion behind a sound.  

Sudden loud sounds cause a fetus to flinch. Calming sounds calm, and there is nothing more calming to an unborn baby than the sound of his mother’s voice. So, yes, read to your child before he is born….what you read doesn’t matter…the daily newspaper is fine as long as you read it aloud and in a soft, comforting voice.

The first books that parents should read to their child after he is born are those that feature touching and textures. Children begin to learn language and associate different senses with different words at a very early age.

As the infant becomes a toddler, the books that are read to the child can be used to help reinforce positive behaviors. There are thousands of excellent books for toddlers on the market. It is better to use books that are made of washable materials that are not easily torn until a child is old enough to learn how to treat books with care.

Reading time is a special time for children. They love the sound of their parents’ voices, and they love the undivided attention that one-on-one reading provides. They also love the physical closeness — the touching and cuddling — that are part of a parent reading to a child.

The wisdom of the ages is contained in books. The earlier a child is introduced to books and the pleasure that books bring into his life, the better he will do in life. Nobody who loves to read is ever lonely if they have a book to read!

 

TLC For Kids, Inc. has been St. Louis’ premier nanny and babysitting agency for over 30 years. TLC For Kids’ dedicated staff is ready to assist you in finding nannies, tutors, newborn care specialists, sitters and more.  Reach us at tlc@tlcforkids.com or 314-725-5660.

Sometimes it seems that the lines between being a toddler and being a preschooler are a bit fuzzy. Which is which? Many (most) of today’s children begin going to day care almost from birth. The transition from day care to preschool can be nearly imperceptible to the child.  

From the child’s point of view, yesterday he could go play with the blocks if he wanted to, but today he must sit still and do what the teacher says. It can be frustrating, but parents can help with the transition.

Your preschooler is about to spread his wings and fly, and it is up to you to prepare him for what he will find out in the world. You have to teach him to help keep himself safe, but you have to do it without scaring the pants off of him. Parenting just got a little more complicated.

The way that your child interacts with the family and the degree of security that the child feels in family relationships will have a great deal to do with how he interacts with his schoolmates and his teachers.

It’s important to continue to read to the child. It’s also important to encourage the child to take part in and “help” with simple household chores. The child needs some “experience” to do well in school, and that experience includes playing with other children. Make play dates for your child and take advantage of “mother’s day out” programs if the child is not enrolled in day care.

Immediately stop talking baby talk to your preschooler. He needs command of the language and in using real grown-up words to describe common items.

Discipline is important now. The child must learn that when he disobeys the rules, there are consequences to his behavior.

 

TLC For Kids, Inc. has been St. Louis’ premier nanny and babysitting agency for over 30 years. TLC For Kids’ dedicated staff is ready to assist you in finding nannies, tutors, newborn care specialists, sitters and more.  Reach us at tlc@tlcforkids.com or 314-725-5660.