December 30, 2005

Boy-Chasing on the Playground

 

Click here to register for your free ClubMom membership

By Liza Asher
http://www.clubmom.com

Q: I take my 6-year-old daughter to the playground a lot after school, and I’ve noticed a weird phenomenon: The girls tend to get together in packs and single out a boy to chase around. The boy’s always laughing and seems to enjoy it, but I’m curious as to why this happens at this age.

A: According to Stanley Greenspan, coauthor of The Challenging Child, children at this age move from being family-oriented to being peer-oriented. One way they explore their relationships with their friends and their position in the group is through play.

Playground chasing is about exploring friendship, says Sharon Gesse, a child-life specialist at Children’s Hospital of Michigan, and it’s a primitive form of flirtation. Once they get to school age, girls begin to gather in small cliques—and chasing boys is an activity that solidifies their standing as part of the “in” crowd. “This is a common way to be part of the group while satisfying their curiosity about boys,” says Marilyn Segal, dean emeritus at the Family and School Center at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale.

Donna Pylman, a mother of three in Irvington, New York, witnessed that behavior when her daughter Marissa was in kindergarten and first grade. “She and her friend used to chase one of the boys because the friend liked him,” she says. Now that Marissa is 10, the dynamics of the playground have changed. The boys usually play soccer at recess and the girls either join them or play amongst themselves.

School is the place where many children explore the sides of their personality that they keep in check at home. They also tend to develop different kinds of relationships. “Isabel plays with girlfriends outside of school,” says her Mom, Susan Abraham of Montclair, New Jersey. “At school, her aggressive side and tendency to push the limits come out. Chasing boys is one expression of that.”

If you’re on the playground and see the game begin, you may want to keep an eye out to make sure nothing inappropriate occurs. Unless the boy who is being pursued is upset or uncomfortable by the attention, or the game becomes too physical and you are worried about someone getting hurt, avoid interfering.

Liza Asher is a mother of four and writes on parenting issues for national magazines. She lives in Montclair, New Jersey.

Copyright © 1999-2004 ClubMom, Inc. All rights reserved.

 

December 26, 2005

10 Questions to Ask a Childcare Provider

  1. How long have you been a provider?
  2. What are your qualifications?
  3. Is your facility or home licensed by the state?
  4. Will you provide me with at least 3 references?
  5. Why did you become a daycare provider?
  6. What is your discipline philosophy?
  7. What has been your staff’s turnover the past year?
  8. Am I able to drop in at anytime?
  9. What other adults will be around my child?
  10. What is the worker/child ratio?The American Public Health Association/American Academy of Pediatrics
    (APHA/AAP) recommends the following ratios:
    0-24 months: 3 to 1
    25-30 months: 4 to1
    31-35 months: 5 to1


The information is free
to reprint in any format provided the information at the bottom, including
this, remains intact. Reprinted from Single Parent Central, www.singleparentcentral.com,
which offers information and resources to single parent families. ©2000
SingleParentCentral.com

Booster Seat Basics

Click here to register for your free ClubMom membershipBooster Seat Basics

By Jayne O’Donnell
http://www.clubmom.com

I know, I know. Getting a 6-year-old who has been riding in the car like a “big girl” to go back to a child seat would be no easy task. But now there’s considerable evidence that keeping older kids in booster seats until they reach small-adult size reduces injuries and saves lives.

Still, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says fewer than 7 percent of the 20 million U.S. children ages 4 to 8 are riding in booster seats. That’s a frightening statistic when you consider that more than 500 children in this age group are killed in car accidents each year, and thousands more are injured. Safety experts say many of the deaths and injuries could be prevented by the proper use of booster seats.

Understanding the Necessity
When children wear adult safety belts too soon, their internal organs can be injured if the belts ride up and slice into their stomachs in a crash. If shoulder belts are put behind their backs, their torsos can jackknife forward, increasing the chance of head and abdominal injuries. More than 80 percent of 4- to 8-year-old passengers in 30,000 car crashes studied by Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and State Farm Insurance were improperly restrained in adult-size safety belts. And the results were often tragic.

Autumn Alexander Skeen lost her 4-year-old son in a crash when an adult seat belt failed to keep him inside the car. Skeen is now a spokeswoman for Ford Motor Company’s educational campaign promoting booster-seat use. “No parent should ever know the pain of losing a child, especially if death or injury is easily preventable,” Skeen says.

A Simple Solution
Booster seats raise children up off the seat to position them in adult belts properly. These special seats are recommended for kids who weigh 40 to 80 pounds and are intended for use in the back seat of vehicles that have three-point lap/shoulder belts. (Remember, children younger than 13 should never ride up front in a car that has front air bags.) Children can usually safely use adult belts in the back seat once they reach a height of four feet nine inches and weigh 80 pounds.

Booster seats are available at many major department stores and at Web sites and superstores that carry children’s products. Your vehicle’s manufacturer or your insurance company may also be able to make suggestions about where to buy a booster seat in your neighborhood. Some insurance and car companies even have special programs that offer the seats for free or at a discount.

ClubMom’s AutoPro, Jayne O’Donnell, is a Washington, D.C.-based reporter (and new mom!) whose automotive expertise and investigative reporting skills have helped break some of the biggest auto-safety stories of the past several years.

Copyright © 1999-2004 ClubMom, Inc. All rights reserved.