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Keiki Tips

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The Importance of Math


This month we will focus on developing math skills.
Counting: Children need to learn more than just to count to 50. They need to learn how many objects correspond to the number. So while in line ask how many people are ahead of you. When one leaves how many will there be then? How many people behind us? Look at how many other things your keiki can count around him or her.

Look for patterns.
Do the tiles on the floor make a pattern? Is there a pattern to the ways the colors are arranged? Tell them "we are second in line." Point out that all traffic lights have the same sequence of colors.

Spatial relationships:
Have them find squares, circles or triangles in everyday items around them like street signs or signs in the market. How many sides does a square have? How about a rectangle? How are they different and the same? Use words like "on" or "inside." Make shapes together in the air with your fingers.

Estimation and Prediction:
How many bags will it take to put all the groceries in? How many apples in a pound? Check your change and let him or her guess which makes a taller stack, 5 pennies or 5 nickels? Which is bigger the cereal box or the crackers box?

Measurement and Time:
How many fingers high is the jar? Which is heavier the tomato or the apple? How many steps to the car? How long can you stand on one leg?
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Managing Temper Tantrums

Tantrums are common in keiki between the ages of two and four, in fact up to 80% of keiki between these ages have tantrums. Contrary to popular belief tantrums are not more common in public, it just seems that way to parents because we worry about what others think of our parenting skills when our keiki throws a fit in public.

A tantrum is usually intense but of short duration if handled properly. The average tantrum starts to subside after one minute and ends within five minutes. However, if we pay a lot of attention to the tantrum it can last even longer.

There are some common causes for tantrums:

POWER STRUGGLES
Your keiki is trying to assert his/her independence and wants to do things his/her way.

A LACK OF PATIENCE
Either on the keiki's part or the parent's part. Keiki do not like to have to wait and parents tend to always be in a hurry.

A LACK OF LANGUAGE SKILLS
Young keiki have not always developed the words necessary to express themselves and they become frustrated with their inability to say what the want or don't want.

FRUSTRATION
Frustration is related to the two previous causes but often is because a keiki is unable to do or have what they want. This is frequently the cause when a parent denies them a want.

LACK OF SLEEP
Keiki need approximately 11 hours of sleep a night and an hour to hour and a half nap during the day. When keiki do not get enough sleep they have less tolerance and are more likely to misbehave or have a tantrum.

STRESS
Often parents are not aware of how much stress their keiki are under. (Managing children's stress will be covered in a later column.)

FEAR
When keiki are afraid they often do not know how to express their fear in a way parents can understand.

NEED FOR ATTENTION
Parents always pay attention when their keiki misbehave but pay less attention when keiki are being good. If a keiki feels like they have been ignored for too long they may throw a tantrum to get their parent's attention.

Now that you know some of the causes of tantrums the following are some simple steps to manage them.

  • Try to make sure your keiki gets enough sleep.
  • Tell him or her the behavior that you want. Telling your keiki to behave is not good enough. You must define behave. "Sit quietly in the cart." "Put your toys on the shelves."
  • When you go into public remind your keiki when you arrive what behaviors you expect.
  • Don't try to go shopping or run errands when your keiki is hungry or tired. Give them a high protein snack or let them have their nap before you go.
  • Whenever possible give keiki choices. Keiki like to feel that they are making decisions. The choice should be between two things, either of which is acceptable to you. Avoid yes and no questions.
  • When you see your keiki escalating, make him or her laugh. Don't make fun of him but if you can make him laugh it is possible you can make him forget what it was that he wanted.
  • If you can't prevent the tantrum ignore it and the minute your keiki stops pay attention to the positive behavior. The worse thing to do is to give in to the tantrum because then you are teaching that throwing a tantrum gets you what you want.
  • If your keiki has a tantrum stay calm. The more your keiki escalates, the calmer you should act. Do not pay a great deal of attention to the tantrum, as long as your keiki is safe and not breaking things ignore the tantrum. Do not give in just to end the tantrum. This will teach your keiki that tantrums are an ineffective way to get what they want.
  • Should your keiki hurt him or herself, break things or otherwise become violent consult a health professional.
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