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  Santa Cruz Parent Santa Cruz, CA

March 6, 2014
Introducing Children to Little Creatures

Steve: "I Want To Wear My Tutu"

Christine: Children's Nightmares May Indicate Future Problems

Lorraine: "Create Your Closeness Criteria"

Suki: Parenting Tip # 324: Don't Be Indispensable
Summer Camp Previews!
This Week
Salamander Saturday and Newt Night
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  Introducing Children to Little Creatures

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Rancho del Oso is devoting an entire day to salamanders and newts. This is a good opportunity to introduce children to little creatures who live in our parks.

"Newts are a subgroup of salamanders, so all newts are salamanders.   Salamanders and newts belong to the order Caudata, which includes amphibians that have, among other characteristics, a tail, a long cylindrical body, and limbs that extend at right angles to the body. The exact size and coloration vary by species, but they are all similar in that they have long bodies with long tails and soft skin that must remain moist. These amphibians have no scales, claws, or external ear openings.  Some secrete toxic substances that can irritate human mucous membranes."

I still will not be able to tell a salamander from a newt, so a trip to Rancho del Oso is a good idea! You too?

Dave Feliz, manager of Elkhorn Slough, adds "In California we have three species of newts, all in the genus Taricha. They occur in habitats near the pacific coast. The California newt is endemic, found in no other state. They range from San Diego County to Mendocino County. There are unverified reports of California newts in northern Baja California creeks. For the adventurous, there is a discovery to be made."  Read more about Newts from Dave>>>

(Photos General) TouchblueSky_Child.jpgMy dear little niece signs; she has her parents enthralled and busy because she mostly signs "book" and "more".  Signing is a great way for children and parents to communicate.  Touch Blue Sky has a new signing playgroup beginning next week. Signing Teacher Bill says "Six month to seven months old is a perfect time to join a six-day Playgroup Series. When your baby is 13 to 14 months old, take a refresher course to improve your skills and increase your baby's signing vocabulary."

Lorraine picks up on the importance of listening to our children, lets us know it's never too late and shares how to open up communication if it has broken down.  We think you will enjoy local educator and speaker Steve Spitalny's writings.  Christine brings us the latest research on children's nightmares.  Her article triggered a memory of one night of nightmares when I was 5 --snakes were in my bed!  After about the third round my father brought me a tiny cup of tea with milk and honey. No more nightmares.  Suki shares with us a formula for not becoming our children's maids.  I can tell her that the only drawback is that they grow up, follow their dreams and live all over the world, but that's okay.  Visiting them gets us out of our comfort zones.

We hope you will LIKE our Facebook page.  When you LIKE us you are LIKELY to get last minute notice of just-discovered "fun things to do".

Enjoy your adventures,  Parmalee

 

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  Steve: "I Want To Wear My Tutu"

by Steve Spitalny

(Photos General) SteveSpitalny.jpgI want to tell you a real life story. (The names were changed to preserve anonymity.) The result of which led Grandma to look at me in awe, and say, "You did it again. You are magic with children." I don't think it is magic. I think it is understanding the development of young children and embracing my role of "adult.'


One cold winter morning a few weeks ago, 2 year old Jill was wearing her frilly tutu and playing in the kitchen. 5 year-old Jack was getting ready to go with me to the park. Jill said she wanted to go too. Auntie said, "Take off your tutu so you can get your coat on." Jill said she wanted to wear the tutu. Jill can be very stubborn and sometimes screams and yells (very loudly) as an often successful strategy to get what she wants.

Her grandma was in the kitchen and I could sense her lack of certainty as she said, "Let's take off the tutu and put on the coat. Okay, Jill?" I could tell that she was tentative and was not going to be firm. She was going to let Jill decide whether or not to take off the tutu and wear the coat. Grandma later confirmed to me that she was not committed to the idea.


Auntie was also in the kitchen. She began explaining to 2-year-old Jill why she should take off the tutu ("It might get dirty, it would get in the way of playing at the playground, it might get ripped, your coat won't fit with the tutu under it...") and wear the coat ("It is cold, it is winter, you'll be cold..."). Auntie was trying to convince Jill why it was a good idea to take off the tutu and wear the coat.


Jill said several times,"No," she would not take off the tutu, as both Auntie and Grandma continued to talk to her and got closer and closer to her. I was watching this dynamic interaction of the three and saw Jill shaking her head, and her unwillingness so visible in her face. I was inwardly clear that taking off the tutu and wearing the coat was important. So I said, "Jack and Steve are going. Anyone who is coming has to take off their tutu and put on a coat." Without hesitation, Jill took off the tutu and I helped her get her coat on. And off we went. Two happy children and me, ready to walk to the park.


So what happened? Jill responded calmly and easily when she heard the firm boundary - to go to the park requires no tutu and yes coat. No negotiating or wiggle room. So she relaxed and went along.


The words I spoke did not create a Steve vs. Jill situation in my choice of words. I didn't say, "Jill, you have to take of your tutu to come with us." I said, "Anyone who is coming..." It was not "me' vs. "you' for Jill. My words made the situation more objective, and less personal.

Also, explaining and trying to convince a 2-year-old is not effective for various reasons. One reason is the desire of the child takes up the whole thought and feeling world for them. Persuasion does not have a place at their table. Also, the child's neurology is not sufficiently developed to process logic and reasoning. The frontal lobe doesn't begin to develop for 10 more years. The adult's intellectual approach of explanation does not meet in the child a neural structure suitable for processing the information.

When we are not clear in what we know is best for the child, when we lack inner confidence, the child senses this. And this is experienced as insecurity for the child. They need our calm and confident guidance and leadership. Of course we don't know everything and are constantly learning. And hopefully we are observing the results of our choices and decisions as far as how the child is affected. This informs our future choices and decisions for the child. But it important to remember who is the adult. As an adult there are more neurological structures in place, more neural pathways, and many years of more experiences to draw from.

Somewhere there is a middle ground between authoritarian parenting and a parenting style where the child is in charge. This is where the magic lives. This middle path my friend Margret Meyerkort calls "loving firmness.' The young child needs our calm and clear and non-intellectual guidance that takes into account their stage of development, and well as their needs for safety and fun.

"I'd love to hear from you about what YOU are struggling with so future blog posts can reflect what you are working on.  If you like this blog, please sign up to subscribe - and tell your friends too"! Steve Spitalny is a local educator and speaker.  You can visit him, his writings and speaker events  at Chamakanda

 

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  Christine: Children's Nightmares May Indicate Future Problems

(Special Event Images / Graphics) Nightmares.jpgMost children (75% or so) suffer from nightmares. Some have night terrors, especially when young. As children grow older, most have fewer nightmares.

If a child does continue to have many nightmares it can be a marker for later psychotic episodes. How many is too many?

Some British researchers followed 6,796 children for their first twelve years. The children were checked six times between the ages of 2.5 and 9. The researchers went back when the children were 12. At this age, less than 25% reported nightmares in the past 6 months and less than 10% reported night terrors during the same period. Night terrors happen in the first part of sleep; the non-REM deep sleep portion. Nightmares happen during the second part of sleep - REM sleep.

If a child had a recurrent bout of nightmares in the last 6 months... Read more>>>>

Christine is a local mom and scientist.  You can read more of Christine's science explanations here!

 

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  Lorraine: "Create Your Closeness Criteria"

(Photos General) LorrainePhoto.jpgDo you ever wish you were closer to your child? Closeness is what will carry you through the rough times of upbringing. It is important to step back and decide how we want our relationship to be and how we want our son or daughter to relate to us. What I'll tell you is this: If they can talk with us when they are little, they will talk with us when they are older. The onus is on US as parents to make it safe for them to open their hearts to us. 

We can start from where we are today and create it. If they are little we can ask "What would you like to talk about- dinosaurs or trucks, princesses or evening gowns?" This is how I started with my son and it worked like magic! He still talks openly and honestly with me today, even though it may hurt at times. But at least he can still be honest and talk with me. If they are older, like teenagers, and there has been a rough go of developing closeness, we may have to ask them what we need to do for them trust us and feel safe to open up to us. This can be scary, I know, but the rewards will be endless. We can turn a damaged relationship into a harmonious one by being humble.  

Since we are the adult, it is up to us to reach out to our child. Try not to take their reactions personally, but rather see it as trying to reach out, but not knowing how. If we humble ourselves, say that we want to be closer and ask what we need to do to make up for the hurts we caused that keep us apart, NOW we have some hope! We have set the example of putting our relationship before our pride, and that they matter to us more than our 'saving face.'  

Parent Secrets is my gift to you and follows my 12 Secrets to Safe, Happy & Confident Kids Coaching Program. If you want to learn more, visit here.

Blessings, Lorraine 

 

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  Suki: Parenting Tip # 324: Don't Be Indispensable

(Photos General) SukiWessling2013.jpgWhen we had our first child, there were naturally things that I did better or things that my husband did better. And quickly, as new exhausted parents, we fell into a trap: We let ourselves become indispensable.

It took me years to understand how dangerous this trap is. A few successes in packing snacks for my kids going on an outing with their dad, and suddenly my packing snacks became a necessary part of each outing. My husband puts a child to bed successfully with no bedtime call-backs and no nighttime wake-ups, and it becomes his de facto job.

Both of our kids were pretty inflexible about a change in plans when they were little. In preschool jargon, this is called.... Continue>>>>

Suki Wessling writes about parenting, education, gifted children, and homeschooling. If you'd like to learn more about this Suki, please click on "About Suki".

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  This Week

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Use the PARENT PLANNER to click on events and resources you are interested in and click PRINT MY PLANNER to print or email your list.

 

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School Corner

Chartwell and The New High School Project K-12, Free Workshop: Keep Calm and Parent On: Dealing with Emotional Ups and Downs of Adolescents 3/12

 

 

Santa Cruz Waldorf School K-8, A Walk Through the Grades 3/12

 

 

Gateway School K-8, Open House 3/12

 

 

Soquel PENS (Parent Education Nursery School) Banana Slug Fundraising Concert 3/15

 


Mount MadonnaPreK-12, Campus Tour 3/19

 

 

Orchard School K-6, CircOrchard, Children's Circus Performance 3/28 & 29

 

 

All School Activities

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 Salamander Saturday and Newt Night

 

Salamander Saturday and Newt Night!


State Park Rancho del Oso
Celebrate our amphibian friends that make their way from beneath rocks and under logs to the creeks, wetlands and puddles
Saturday, 3/08
Free
Special Instructions: 18 miles north of SC on Hwy 1

11am Salamander Story time
12pm-4pm Drop-in FREE Salamander Critter Craft
1pm Salamander Scavenger Hunt
5pm Newt Night!

Join us as the Ranch of the Bear becomes "Ranch of the Newt," celebrating our amphibian friends that make their way from beneath rocks and under logs to the creeks, wetlands and puddles of the park.

Start out your day with Salamander Story time at 11:00, where children will learn all about salamanders and their habitats around the Rancho del Oso Nature and History Center fireplace! Drop in at the Rancho del Oso Nature and History Center from 12:00 - 4:00 pm for a FREE family-friendly Salamander craft. At 1:00 pm, meet at the gate across Highway One from Waddell Beach for a 3-mile guided Salamander Scavenger Hunt on the trail! Later, join us for "Newt Night" at 5:00 pm to hear tales and songs of toes growing back, barking salamanders and poison so deadly it could kill you (!!) in a campfire-style program held at the Rancho del Oso Nature and History Center.


Location: 18 miles north of Santa Cruz on Highway One, Santa Cruz Map
Phone: (831) 427-2288 •website• 

"Don't Duck, Look Up!"
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  "Don't Duck, Look Up!"
Hartnell College
Date: Every Fri (Mar 7-Mar 28) at 5:30pm
Details: Star shows for young children Pre-K - 3rd grade
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Introduce Children to Little Creatures
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Spring Awakening
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  Spring Awakening
Pacific Collegiate School
Date: Every Su, Wed, Th and Fri (Mar 16-Mar 26) at 7:00pm
Ages: All ages
Details: A poignant explor ation of the journey from adolescence to adulthood
Special Instructions: March 16-19, and 23-26, Thursday - Saturday 7pm, Sunday 2pm
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