Superhero Exploration

Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 1.53.02 PM.pngMany parents may overlook superheroes teaching their children about life lessons. However, Sarah Erdman and Meredith Downing, prove otherwise with one of their articles. Children can learn a lot from superheroes; it all depends on how you direct the teachings.

One of the first thing that you can incorporate with superheroes is creativity. Children should be encouraged to think on what they would want to be as a superhero, including their powers and their backstory. It improves your child’s creative thinking and helps them learn how to explore options.

Along with developing exploration and creative thinking, it makes children think moreczhwdgtugaafkwg in-depth on more than just the how the superheroes save the day, but why do they do what they do? Superheroes do not always get the recognition for their work in helping others, but they continue to do it—and enjoy it. Opening children’s minds to this way of thinking will help them look for everyday superheroes and may inspire them to be one themselves
There are several projects that can teach children about real-life topics while involving superpowers.

Click here to read Erdman and Downing’s projects along with other details about teaching children with superheroes.

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Home Safety

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 1.21.14 PM.pngProtecting children from unintentional injuries is very important. Children develop at different rates and it is hard to keep an eye on them all the time. Practicing safety based on children’s’ developmental stages, keeps them safe and secure.

Children are going to run, fall down and take risks when playing. This checklist can help you look at your home and check for hazards and possible dangers to children. This checklist highlights ways to keep your children safe. When checking your home take a few minutes and look at it from a child’s view.

  • Anything that fits in a child’s mouth will probably go there.
  • Look for climbing opportunities and things that can be pulled down from above.
  • Watch for sharp corners, protrusions, and objects a child might fall on.
  • Children are very inquisitive and will pry at vent covers, electric outlets, etc.
  • Does your home have a list of emergency telephone numbers near the telephone or in your cell phone?
  • Does your home have a safe, age-appropriate place for the child to sleep?
  • Is your home child/baby proofed (electrical outlets covered, safety latches on cabinet doors, cleaning supplies and other dangerous objects stored out of reach, choking hazards are out of reach)?
  • Are televisions positioned high or bolted to the wall so they do not get pulled over?
  • Are medicines in original container and in a locked cabinet out of child’s reach?
  • Are cleaning supplies stored away from food and out of the reach of children?
  • Does your home have working smoke detectors?
  • Does your home have a working fire extinguisher?
  • Do you have a fire escape plan?
  • Are drapery/blind cords secured and out of the reach of children?
  • Are pot handles turned to the back of the stove when cooking?
  • Are children always supervised when they are in or near water?
  • Is your water heater temperature set at 120 degrees F?
  • Are toys clean and age-appropriate?
  • Does your home have a complete first aid kit?
  • Are your children not exposed to second hand smoke?
  • Are the children always supervised when playing indoors and outdoors?

(Adapted with permission from the Home Safety Checklist for Families with Young Children, Safe Kids Lincoln-Lancaster County)

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Helping Children Cope With Severe Storms

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What Do Parents Need To Know?

The more parents encourage their children to talk about severe weather, the better children will feel. Start talking to them right away: When a storm is on the way, after the storm has passed, and time and time again afterwards. Children need to keep talking about their experiences. It is how all of us make sense out of things as human beings.

Children sometimes become the lost souls of a family in crisis. Adults can get so caught up in their own feelings that they don’t realize how emotional and difficult the experience is for children. Also, sometimes adults think it’s better to keep quiet and avoid stirring things up with the kids. But kids are aware that the adults in their lives are dealing with powerful emotions. They know something is happening and it’s important. They may not always get the facts straight, but they’re aware of the tension adults are experiencing. If adults don’t address difficult issues, the children will have to carry this burden all alone. They may feel it’s their fault. Adults need to be aware of what children feel and think, to listen to them, and talk openly and honestly with them.

If unsure where to start, try using the questions below to help get the child(ren) to start talking. This will be an ongoing process: Adults don’t get this figured out in one conversation and neither do children. It may not be easy for adults to discuss this over and over, but it is necessary to help the kids work through their fears and anxieties.

What did you see? How did you feel about it? How did you deal with it? What did you learn from it?

Activities That Can Help Children Cope

  • Have children talk to grandparents or parents and tape record or write down their storm-related stories.
  • Have toys such as fire trucks, ambulances, building blocks, puppets and dolls available that encourage play reenactment of children’s experiences and observations.
  • Children need close physical contact during times of stress to help them feel a sense of belonging and security. Structured children’s games that involve physical touching are helpful in this regard; for example, Ring Around the Rosie; London Bridge; Duck, Duck, Goose; and so forth.
  • Have the children do a mural on long paper or draw pictures about the storm focusing on what happened in their house or neighborhood when the big storm hit. Adults should help discuss these drawings afterwards.
  • When adults share their own feelings, fears and experiences, it legitimizes children’s feelings and helps them feel less isolated. If adults were afraid, then it’s OK for children to be afraid, also.
  • Adults need to admit when they don’t know the answers to questions. Find out the answers and let the children know what they are.
  • Explain to children that disasters are very unpredictable, and may cause things to happen that can even trouble adults. Even so, adults will always work very hard to keep children safe and secure.

Know When To Make Referrals

The following list of behaviors could indicate a child may need qualified professional help to deal with the storm-related stress. When the child:

  • demonstrates the desire to hurt himself or herself or others;
  • repeatedly expresses himself or herself in somber or self-deprecating terms;
  • starts to rely on dark colors and themes in artwork;
  • continues to act out aggressively or violently;
  • becomes more immature or too mature;
  • repeatedly wants to be alone;
  • sets fires or commits other destructive acts; and
  • deliberately and repeated harms animals.
Leanne Manning, Extension Educator | The Learning Child

This post was previously published as a PDF in 2005 for NebFact. It was originally written by Manning and is used with her permission.

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