Tag Archives: dads

Oh Say can you see?: The American Dream

8 Dec
Courtesy of activerain.com

Courtesy of activerain.com

There is economic stress in my family (I am referring to my fiancé and I) and it relates exactly to the safety and education goals identified by Warren (Family in Transition-16th edition).

“Within the middle class, and even the upper middle class, many families experience an almost threatening pressure to keep up, both for themselves and their children.  They are deeply concerned about the rigors of the global economy, and the need to have their children attend “good” schools.  This means living in a community with relatively high housing costs.” (Warren & Warren Tygai, 2011).

I’ve mentioned this before, but next year I am getting married.  We are both saving money every month in preparation for the milestones that are rapidly approaching—specifically, wedding costs and a down-payment on a house.  I do feel the pressure to “keep up” sometimes.  Do my fiancé and I want to live the American dream?  Of course we do.  We want a big, beautiful home on a lovely block with green grass and friendly neighbors.  We want healthy, happy, well-educated children that are able to walk to the school bus stop without a care in the world.  It’s the simple life, yet difficult to achieve these days.

As mentioned in the quoted text above, we all want our children to attend good schools.  This means living in a community with high housing costs.  If we are using the words “high costs”, then that usually means prices one cannot afford.  If the house was not recognized as a “high cost” then it most likely wouldn’t hurt my bank account.  What I am trying to say is that many Americans will purchase a home in a nice area with great schools—but it’s those same Americans that are spending more than they can afford.  We cannot afford what is known as the ‘American dream’ and yet we will sacrifice our financial stability in order to achieve it.  A bit of a contradiction, no?  This discussion has really made me come to grips with reality.

Hey, I will admit it.  I am constantly insisting that my fiancé and I view homes with the best schools and in the safest neighborhoods.  Can we afford this financial burden?  Absolutely not right now.  It’s funny though, how Americans just like us are willing to take that blow to the bank account, or commit to a 30-year mortgage (30 years, jeez!), rather than settle for what we could afford based on both of our incomes.  We’d rather spend what we can’t afford then afford what we are spending because of safety and education.  I am being honest, but considering all things, it sort of makes me feel foolish.

(I’d like to thank my Professor at ESC for initiating this fantastic discussion board)

Toddlers: Explorers By Nature

30 Aug

Let’s say that there’s a mother of a boy named Christopher.  Christopher is a toddler and since getting ‘into everything’, as toddlers do, his mother has been keeping him in a playpen for most hours of the day.  Here is my response for my Infant and Toddler Development class based on Erikson’s theory of development….

I would try and help Christopher’s mother to understand just how important it is to keep her child out of the playpen.  Toddlers are explorers by nature; they are extra curious in discovering how the world works around them.

Parents and caregivers should allow children to become familiar with the environment.  Children require stimulation, ie: sensory and the manipulation of objects.  Allowing them to explore is also vital to their physical growth (University of Illinois).  By crawling around and grabbing onto furniture a child is slowly enhancing their gross motor skills.

This would be best explained to a person like Derek’s mother through Erikson’s first three stages of psychosocial development:

1.) Trust vs. Mistrust, where parents should interact with their child in order to instill an element of trust.

2.)  Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt, where it is important to introduce independency in order to instill confidence.

3.)  Initiative vs. Guilt, where children assert power and control through play and interactions.  This instills the feeling of social cabability to lead others (about.com).

As previously mentioned, allowing toddlers to explore their natural surroundings is necessary to their social and physical development. Most importantly, toddlers require parental interaction and improval to enhance their confidence, thus shaping the people that they will become in the future.  This will not only assist them in developing confidence with people, but with their world surrounding them as well. So in reality, a playpen is not the best place for Christopher.  As he grows, it may affect him in negative ways, socially.  His mother may find that he does not trust others, or that he has developed a fear of exploration.  According to Erikson, Christopher could also have feelings of self-doubt or inadequacy, as a result of not having control over certain choices such as food, toys, or clothing, which is vital to the beginning stages of independency (about.com).

In my opinion, toddlers are some of the most interesting human beings on earth.  When parents provide them with the freedom to explore is when they will discover how joyful it is to watch their child grow during a crucial stage in development.

Sources:

http://psychology.about.com/od/psychosocialtheories/a/psychosocial_2.htm

http://urbanext.illinois.edu/toddlers/exploring.cfm

Water Table Play

21 May


Okay, so for $99.99 dollars at Walmart you can buy the water table pictured above.  I know a hundred bucks is a nice chunk of change, but trust me.  Water tables provide so much more of an amazing learning experience than you may think.  It is not just about your little one splashing and making a mess.

First off, your child will have a great time practicing their sensory skills.  Give them a bowl and a tiny cup.  Have them count how many cups it took them to fill that bowl.

Other items to use in water tables that most parents/nannies/teachers may not think of:

-Eye droppers

-Toy Cars

-Toy/plastic animals

-Paper

-Sand (Nifty idea: have the child(ren) make animal tracks in the sand with the plastic animals)

-Shovels/buckets/cups

-Sponges

-Baby Dolls

My favorite water play activity is something I’d like to call “Water Babies”.  Fill the table up just covering the base, squeeze in a dab of soap (enough to create some bubbles), then throw in some sponges and naked dolls/ babies.  Walk the child through the steps of giving the baby a bath and drying them off.  This instills empathy, mimics self-help skills, and shows responsibility.  Your child will feel important that they are actually giving a “baby” a bath.

This is also a very cute activity, as children typically say the most adorable things while cleaning their baby dolls.

**Remember, this activity is suitable for little boys too.  I think it is important for boys to play with dolls because like I said, it instills empathy.