Costumes and candy, parades and props! Halloween is almost here and that means tons of new experiences await your child. Between the flurry of activities leading up to and surrounding Halloween, make sure to set aside some time and make sure your child is prepared for the holiday. Here are some tips to help ensure the day is enjoyable:
- Start Preparing Early: To better help your child understand the concept of Halloween, start introducing them early on through the use of stories, books, songs, and even movies. Ask them how they feel about Halloween and what excites them. Be sure to build the excitement and fun over time so they are really amped up and looking forward to the holiday!
- Pre-Halloween Dress Up: Try on costumes before Halloween. Does your child feel comfortable wearing their costume? Make sure the costume fits correctly and is comfortable so that your child is able to fully enjoy the holiday without any added sensory stress.
- Do a "Test Run": After you and your child have tried on your Halloween outfits, do a "test run" around the neighborhood. Practice going to a friendly neighbor's house (you should inform them ahead of time so they understand your child's needs), knocking on the door, and receiving candy. This will help your child familiarize themselves with the tick-or-treating process.
- Start Early, Be Flexible, and have FUN!: Start trick-or-treating early and be flexible with your plans. The more calm and at ease you are, the more fun your child will have with this experience. Focus on fun, avoid scary things, and take notes for next year's Halloween!
- Happy Halloween everyone!
Finding an appropriate place to play is a big challenge for children with developmental disorders and disabilities. On a typical playground, danger tends to lurk around every corner. With over 6.4 million children in the U.S. living with some form of disability, the simple ritual of playing outside can become very complicated.
Worry no more! Thanks to NPR, there is now a community-edited guide to accessible and all-inclusive playgrounds called Playgrounds For Everyone! With outdoor time, motion, and social interaction being crucial for development in all children, no child should be placed at a disadvantage simply because they have different needs.
You can now search by address to find the nearest playground in your area that is inclusive for all children. If you don’t see a locally all-inclusive playground on the list, or if you know of one not on the list, please add it! Since this is a community-edited guide, it’s absolutely critical that parents and teachers list local, friendly playgrounds so that more children are able to experience the joy of outdoor time and socializing with friends. Now get outside and have some fun!
For more information about the program, visit NPR’s “Playgrounds For All Children” article.
Learning does not stop once your child leaves school - there are tons of opportunities to expand and grow in the home! Children's brains are like sponges, always absorbing information; they are constantly observing, learning, and registering new experiences which is why it's very important to focus on your child's learning experience at home, not just at school. As a parent, there are tons of easy activities that will stimulate your child's brain and senses.
- For infants, putting on a calm music CD or singing a nursery rhyme while playing with their hands and feet is a great way to stimulate the brain.
- For toddlers, action games will generally keep them busy while they are learning to move and follow directions. “Simon Says” is a great and simple game that encourages children to follow your movements and directions.
- For Pre-Kindergarten, you can use painter’s tape to make a road map in the living room or throughout your house. While working with your child, ask where they think the roads should go and why they are going there. Are they going under the sofa? Why? Is there an end to the road or does it go on forever? These questions help stimulate creative thinking and expression.
- For Kindergarteners, using a CD or singing a song that requires your child to use their entire body is an excellent way to stimulate physical development. Songs such as “The Wheels on the Bus” or “The Itsy-Bitsy Spider” are perfect examples of songs that require your child to actively participate with hand and body movements that correlate to the words in the song.
Regardless of age and activity,
having fun is always going to help reinforce learning concepts!
It's that dreaded time again...flu season is upon us. As we batten down the hatches and stock up on hand sanitizer, there are a few things you should focus on to prevent the spread of the flu at home and at school.
With school-aged children having a higher risk of contracting the flu, it's important to talk to your child about sanitation at school and at home.
- Washing your hands is one of the most important steps of preventing the spread of the flu. Sing a song when soaping up, such as “Row Row Row Your Boat,” or other fun songs that let your child judge how long they should spend soaping up.
- Remind your child that they should be washing their hands before and after meals, when using the restroom, and before starting a new activity with classroom equipment. This will help them turn hand washing into a natural routine.
- Teaching your children to cover coughs and sneezes is also an important way to prevent the spread of germs. When a tissue is unavailable, sneezing or coughing into your elbows or sleeves has been proven to be safer in preventing the spread of germs when compared to sneezing into your hands.