Early Intervention

When you become a parent your heart is all of a sudden living outside of your body. In your eyes and soul your child is absolutely perfect. That is why it can be a scary feeling to notice that your child might have a difference or a delay of some kind. It may feel easier in the moment to brush it off as no big deal. And maybe in the end, it really is no big deal. However, it’s better to be cautious when your child is young, rather than wait until something becomes a real challenge for them later on. It is better for you, and more importantly for your child to figure out if there is a difference and get them the help and support that they might need. 

We understand that sometimes parents feel shame around their child being different, and they feel like it might be their fault somehow. Please know that it is not your fault. We want to help shift the culture in a way that parents don’t have to feel this way. We want to help every parent understand that children need different things to help them grow and learn, and by giving them what they need, you are equipping them with the tools they will use for the rest of their life. You are setting them up for success because they are not going to stay young and little forever. They will grow up into adults, and they need the tools to be able to live happy healthy lives. 

We are big advocates for early intervention for children who need it. Certain differences can be noticed within the first years of life. Examples could be an infant that doesn’t make eye contact, low muscle tone, or a baby that isn’t meeting specific milestones. If you notice something is off, ask your pediatrician. If something is going on, there are many services and resources available to help support healthy development through programs. For example, in California the Department of Developmental Services works with many regional centers throughout the state. These regional centers offer testing and early intervention for children up to age 5 at no cost to the parents. If you are in another state, ask your pediatrician for help, they can help guide you in the process of finding early intervention resources for your child.

In the later years, when your child enters preschool, and later kindergarten and beyond, it is important to communicate with your child’s teachers anything that will help your child succeed in school. On the other hand, it is also important to listen to educators when they notice something about your child. Teachers spend years learning about development and what is and isn’t age appropriate. When they bring something to a family’s attention, it is not to shame or blame. It is so they can give the child the tools they need to succeed. A teacher wouldn’t be doing their job if they didn’t do what was best for the child.

There is a saying that we often hear in our field: “They will grow out of it,” and sometimes that is very true. There are many age appropriate things that kids grow out of like eating their boogers, chewing on their hair, or fighting with their siblings. However, there are many things that children will not grow out of on their own, and the support of professionals might be needed. An administrator once told a parent this analogy, and it has truly stuck with us: “Wouldn’t you want to know if your child has asthma? And if they did, wouldn’t you want to make sure they had an inhaler to help them breath?”  Early intervention is the inhaler for children with differences. 

As teachers we have seen many children in our classes who have had tremendous success because they had services and early intervention when they were young. We also have personal experience with family, and we will forever be grateful to the regional centers and teachers who helped our loved ones learn and grow. We want to send the message that early intervention makes a huge difference in a child’s life, and you are not to blame for things that come up, but as their parent, it is your responsibility to help give them the tools they need to succeed. 

Cheers to a Year of Blogging

We cannot believe that it has already been a year since we began Dreaming Teachers and that this is our 50th post. When we first began this project, we wanted to help parents and teachers. After more than a decade in the classroom we noticed a disconnect between teachers and classroom expectations and parent and home expectations for children. We have also seen a big change in children’s social behaviors. We wanted to be the link between parents and teachers so that together we can raise healthy, balanced children. 

We have touched on issues that pertain to raising children from a perspective that parents might not have thought about: the teacher’s perspective. Many of the topics we write about are based on our experiences in the classroom combined with what research shows is best for children. 

In the coming year we hope to continue to write blog posts to help parents and teachers with the incredibly important job of raising children and giving them the tools they need to navigate our ever changing world. 

Cheers to a happy and healthy New Year and to finding balance in 2020!


Holiday Traditions for Families

Creating traditions with your children is an important part of growing up. Traditions can bring families together and provide a sense of comfort and belonging. They can also be a wonderful avenue to create long lasting memories that nurture the family connection. It is great to have different traditions throughout the entire year but the holidays is the perfect place to start if you are looking to add some tradition to your family!

Here are some ideas that we love. Some are more Christmas related, but others are traditions you can start with your child, no matter your beliefs.

Christmas Tree: Plan special traditions around getting your Christmas tree. We love the idea of picking a day to get your tree. Some people like to wait until December 1st. We think any day after thanksgiving is fair game. Get it from the same place every year, or get a special hot chocolate on your way to get the tree. Adding in a yearly tradition will make the experience so memorable. Let your children help in decorating the tree. There work decorating might not be the most “aesthetically pleasing,” with ornaments toward the bottom of the tree all grouped together, but they will be so proud of their work and so happy to be part of your family traditions.

Advent Calendars: There are so many different types of advent calendars that start the holiday season off on the first day of December. You can go for a store bought version with the little candies, or the wooden ones where you get to put in items of your choice. You can also make your own. There are countless ideas on how to make one floating around the internet, including this free printable advent calendar that includes different activities for each day. We really like the idea of a kindness advent calendar where instead of receiving a treat, children can do an act of kindness everyday.

Baking: Pick out your favorite holiday treats and have a baking day. Baking is fun for children and can be a great learning experience. And of course eating the treats is equally fun. This one is very special because you can pass on your favorite recipes to your children to create a tradition that lasts generations. You can also decorate tins with your child, even add pictures, and hand them out as presents to family and friends.

Movie Night: Pick a night to watch some of your favorite holiday movies. Some of our favorites are Elf, Home Alone, The Polar Express, The Santa Clause, A Christmas Story, The Grinch, and Klaus.  But there are countless wonderful family movies for the holidays. Sometimes the hustle and bustle of the holidays can be stressful, don’t forget to balance that out with what really matters. Spending time with loved ones.

Meals: There is something so special about creating traditions with the food we eat during the holidays. Having certain dishes and recipes that you only make during the holidays will make it even more memorable. Many children love cooking and helping in the kitchen. We understand that they can make more work, but just think of how proud they will be when they ae complimented for their yummy food.  Not to mention that allowing them in the kitchen will help children become more independent as they grow up.

Books: Pick your favorite holiday book that fits your family values, beliefs, and traditions and read it together every year. We love the books like The Night Before Christmas, The Little Drummer Boy, The Magic of Friendship Snow, What Do You Celebrate, and Dasher. Our classes also love hearing stories related to holidays and traditions.

Family traditions are the thread that binds a family together. When you have strong traditions, it keeps you connected even when your children grow up. And they will have something to carry on with their own children. We want to wish everyone a very happy holiday season!

What are some of your favorite family traditions for the holidays?